Congress passed the long sought after $900 billion pandemic relief package and sent it to President Donald Trump for final approval Monday night. The legislation will be delivering cash to businesses and individuals in need of relief. The bill also delivers resources for vaccinations, something a nation confronting a frightening surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths desperately needs.
Hundreds of dollars in direct payments could start reaching Americans as early as next week.
The package includes stimulus checks of up to $600 for people who earn less than $75,000 per year (or married couples earning up to $150,000), an additional $600 per dependent child under 18, $300 per week extension of unemployment insurance and federal unemployment insurance, more than $286 billion in loans for businesses that need to pay rent and staff, $69 billion in testing and vaccine distribution funds and $82 billion in funding for colleges and schools. The bill also included a legislative priority for the entertainment industry, which will bump up the penalty for operating a for-profit illegal streaming service from a misdemeanor to a felony.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Sunday that “the four leaders of the Senate and the House finalized an agreement” on the package, which would provide direct payments and jobless aid to struggling Americans and funds for small businesses, hospitals, schools and vaccine distribution.
The 5,593-page legislation — by far the longest bill in American history — sped through the House of Representatives and Congress in a matter of hours late Monday night.