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U.S. House passes $3 trillion virus economic aid bill

WASHINGTON, DC -- Democrats powered a massive $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill through U.S. House passage Friday evening on a vote of 208 to 199, an election-year measure designed to brace a U.S. economy in free fall and a health care system struggling to contain a pandemic still pummeling the country.

Passage, along mostly partisan lines, advanced a Democratic opening bid to difficult talks with the White House and Senate Republicans. The measure is likely be the last major Covid-19 response bill before November's presidential and congressional elections.

The enormous Democratic measure will cost more than the prior four coronavirus bills combined. It would deliver almost $1 trillion for state and local governments, another round of $1,200 direct payments to individuals and help for the unemployed, renters and homeowners, college debt holders and the struggling Postal Service.

Highlights of the Democratic bill:

FISCAL AID TO STATES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS

The Democratic bill provides more than $900 billion to states ($500 billion), local governments ($375 billion), as well as Indian tribes and territorial governments ($40 billion) to help prevent layoffs of public workers, cuts to services, or tax hikes.

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DIRECT PAYMENTS

Adds a second round of direct payments to individuals and makes those benefits more generous than an earlier round, which limited payments for dependent children to $500. Instead, it provides new payments of $1,200 per family member, up to $6,000 for a household.

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HAZARD PAY FOR ESSENTIAL WORKERS

Creates a $200 billion “heroes fund” that would provide a “hazard pay” supplement for essential workers such as first responders, health care workers, sanitation workers, and those at businesses required to stay open.

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UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

Extends a $600 per week federal unemployment benefits supplemental payment through January, 2021, instead of cutting it off at the end of July.

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POSTAL SERVICE

Provides $25 billion for the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service, which is expected to run out of money by the end of September without congressional aid because it’s losing so much revenue during the pandemic. The measure also would repeal several restrictions on a $10 billion line of credit for the Postal Service authorized in a previous economic rescue bill.

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HOUSING ASSISTANCE

Provides $175 billion to states to help renters and homeowners pay mortgages, rent, and other housing costs and avoid default, with much of the money aimed at lower-income people.

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HIGHWAYS/MASS TRANSIT

Provides $15 billion for state transportation departments for highway needs and $16 billion to mass transit systems hit by a massive drop-off of ridership and lower income from fares.

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EDUCATION

Dedicates $100 billion to states, school districts, and universities to defray additional costs associated with the pandemic.

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TESTING/AID TO HEALTH PROVIDERS

Provides $75 billion on top of earlier outlays to test for the coronavirus, perform contact tracing to track its spread, and treatment for COVID-19. Adds another $100 billion for hospitals and other health care providers.

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PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE

Provides subsidies for laid off workers to remain on their employer-provided health insurance plans through so-called COBRA benefits and creates an open enrollment period to sign up for “Obamacare” policies on state and federal health insurance exchanges.

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ABC News

Associated Press

Comments

13 Comments

  1. Every Republican and Democrat (total 199) that voted against this bill are true patriots and should be commended. Good thing it is DOA at the U.S. Senate. Plus President Trump will surely veto it. Way too much pork and leftist dreams.

    1. What a dolt! There will be no stimulus payment from this carry bill so moot issue. I see you are butt hurt from not getting a stimulus payment from the 4th bill – The Cares Act. Boo frigidy hoo hoo hoo.

  2. Explain to us why the Postal Service needs $25 BILLION dollars? How did they get effected by the virus? They need to suspend their retirement and suspend bonuses to top management.

      1. You mean those Forever stamps don’t work to self fund the USPS? The Democrat’s bill is so full of pork and wishful Democrat thinking it is not funny. It is DEAD ON ARRIVAL!

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