Congress passes stimulus bill to send direct payments to millions of Americans; expected in late April

BY: David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Staff Writer

Washington, D.C.- Today, Congress passed a $2.2 Trillion Economic Stimulus package aimed at American families. The relief packages came in three phases. The first phase was the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020.

This Act pumped $8.3 billion into discretionary spending($7.8 B) and Mandatory spending($500M). The $500 million is for “Medicare telehealth mandatory spending, which would allow Medicare providers to furnish telemedicine services to seniors.” The legislation passed the House 415-2 on March 4, 2020, and the Senate 96-1 on March 5, 2020.

The second phase, The Families First Coronavirus Response Act; provided funding for free coronavirus testing, 14-day paid leave for American workers affected by the pandemic and increased funding for food stamps. The bill passed the United States House of Representatives early on March 14, 2020, before moving on to the United States Senate. President Donald Trump had voiced support for the legislative agreement. The Senate passed the legislation on March 18, 2020.  Trump signed the bill into law later that day.

The third phase, and most contentious, was a relief to the American individuals and families.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are done,” White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland announced as he left the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., near midnight Tuesday. “We have a deal.”

“This bill is not only a rescue package, but it is also a commitment… that your government and the people whom you’ve elected to serve will do everything we can to limit the harm and hardship you face, both now and the foreseeable future,” House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said prior to the vote.

The measure increases unemployment to a maximum of $600 per week for four months. And also includes individuals in the gig economy workers, furloughed employees, and freelancers.

The bill provides American workers who make up to $75,000 a check for $1200, couples making up to $150,000 year a check for $2,400.00 and an additional $500 per child. The payments decrease for those making $75,000, with the income cap at $99,000 per individuals or $198,000 per couple.

The legislation also includes $100 Billion for hospitals, $350 Billion for small businesses, $500 billion for corporations including airline and cruise lines, and about $150 Billion for state and local stimulus funds.

Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin says that the checks should be available for delivery in about 3 weeks. The bill heads to President Trump’s desk for signature later this afternoon.

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This is a developing story and will be updated as more information is released.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...