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Senate approves $2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill

3 days 15 hours 52 minutes ago Tuesday, March 24 2020 Mar 24, 2020 March 24, 2020 11:00 PM March 24, 2020 in News
Source: WBRZ

UPDATE: The House of Representatives has approved the bill Friday and sent it to President Trump. See the full report here: https://www.wbrz.com/news/house-passes-2-2t-rescue-package-rushes-it-to-trump

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WASHINGTON - After an agreement was reached between the White House and Senate leaders, a $2 trillion rescue bill was approved late Wednesday evening. 

The stimulus bill includes $300 billion in direct payments to Americans. Every individual making less than $75,000 a year will receive a one-time $1200 check. For couples, that amount is $2400. Parents will receive an additional $500 per child.

"They're [IRS] is going to direct deposit that money into people's bank accounts," La. Sen. John Kennedy said. "I asked [Treasury] Secretary Steve Mnuchin in our conference call this morning when that money would be sent out, and he said next week."

The bill also includes additional relief for the unemployed. The federal government will send money to each state's unemployment insurance program.

Currently in Louisiana, the maximum benefits an unemployed worker can receive is $247. The federal assistance would give those workers additional dollars. 

"On top of that, you would receive up to $600 from the federal government, Kennedy said earlier Wednesday. "That's per week."

Small businesses are also getting help in the bill. Every business with less than 500 employees will be eligible for up to $10 million in loans. Any portion of those loans used to pay employees will be forgiven. Large businesses over 500 employees will also be eligible for loans.

$100 billion will be dedicated to helping hospitals on the frontline of this healthcare crisis. An additional 11 billion dollars will go towards vaccines and therapeutics. Louisiana's Sen. Bill Cassidy says trials are already underway and the process to find a vaccine or other remedies is being expedited. 

"Normally you would see if they're safe," Cassidy said. "Then you'd see if they work. Then you would come up with a manufacturing capacity, and then you would manufacture and then you would deliver. We're going to do that in parallel. So while you're looking to see if they are safe and effective, we'd be building up the manufacturing capacity and actually produce doses. So that when the time comes, as soon as we know it's safe and effective, the doses are on the shelf."

Other items in the bill include a payroll tax holiday and $75 billion in loans for the airline industry and other businesses important to national security. 

Now that the senate has passed the bill it will head over to The House of Representatives for final passage, before heading to the President's desk.

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