On Tuesday afternoon, the Senate passed the new coronavirus relief bill that they’ve been negotiating for several days, CBS News reports. The bill will provide further financial relief for small businesses. It will also provide funding for coronavirus testing. In total, the bill allocated about $484 billion to coronavirus relief efforts.
$310 billion of the total funds will be used to replenish the funds in the Paycheck Protection Program, dubbed the PPP for short. The PPP, which aims to help keep employees on the payroll at small businesses while they’re closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, was established with a budget of $349 billion. The program began accepting applications on April 3. By April 16, the Small Business Administration announced that they were out of funds and could not approve any more loans. Since then, Congress has been working to craft a bill that would allocate more funding to the program.
The Washington Post reports that the bill will also assist small businesses by allocating $60 billion to a separate program. This program will provide emergency loans and grants to small businesses.
The rest of the money allocated by the bill will be devoted to coronavirus testing. $75 billion will go directly to hospitals so they can expand their testing efforts. $25 billion will go to expanding testing efforts on a national level.
According to The Washington Post, the money for coronavirus testing was one of the major issues that held up the passing of the bill. Senate Democrats wanted $150 billion to go directly to states and cities to expand local testing efforts. Senate Republicans didn’t agree on the amount and also didn’t agree that the money should go directly to cities and states. They wanted to focus on expanding national testing. In the end, the Democrats conceded in order to get the bill passed.
Now that the bill has been passed, it heads to President Donald Trump for his approval. Before the Senate vote, President Trump tweeted that he would sign the bill into law once it was passed by the Senate.
….to State/Local Governments for lost revenues from COVID 19, much needed Infrastructure Investments for Bridges, Tunnels, Broadband, Tax Incentives for Restaurants, Entertainment, Sports, and Payroll Tax Cuts to increase Economic Growth.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2020
Senators from both sides of the aisle made it clear that this latest coronavirus relief package will be followed by another relief bill as soon as possible, NBC News reports. Senators have hinted that the next coronavirus relief bill will be similar to the stimulus package passed in March. They’ll begin working on that bill as soon as this one becomes law.