President Trump on Friday signed a $2.2 trillion package meant to offset the effects of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic into law.
The legislation constitutes the largest relief package in American history, drafted in response to a surge of shuttered businesses and stock-market turmoil. Numerous U.S. states have ordered public businesses to close to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and the resulting uncertainty has wrought havoc on the economy.
“I want to thank Republicans and Democrats for coming together, setting aside their differences, and putting America first,” Trump said at the signing ceremony. “This legislation provides for direct payments to individuals and unprecedented support to small businesses.”
The relief package includes checks to be paid directly to certain Americans based on their level of income. Individuals earning up to $75,000 will receive $1,200 each, while married couples with up to $150,000 combined income will receive $2,400 plus an additional $500 for each child. The bill also provides for $500 billion in loans to small businesses and large amounts of aid to hospitals struggling with influxes of coronavirus patients.
The relief package was passed after a tumultuous week in which Democrats, Republicans, and the Trump administration struggled to negotiate a deal. Republican senators slammed House Democrats for initially proposing their own package laden with provisions unrelated to the pandemic. And once an agreement was reached, House lawmakers had to scramble to return to Washington, D.C. and pass it Friday, after Representative Thomas Massie (R., Ky.) had threatened to hold up proceedings by demanding a recorded vote. Massie’s demand was ultimately defeated and the relief package passed by voice vote.