“This is a strange and evil disease,” stated the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, before the vote. “When we pass this bill, instead of hugging each other, we’ll wave from a distance.”
The Senate passed the bill, 96-0, and the House is scheduled to vote on the bill on Friday. “We are working to ensure that those who are unable to return to Washington will be able to express their views on this legislation remotely,” said House majority leader, Steny Hoyer, to the press.
The package contains provisions for direct payment to individuals- the plan as it was negotiated, individual Americans would receive $1,200, married couples would get $2,400, and parents would receive $500 for each child under the age of 17.
The payments would be phased out for Americans with adjusted gross incomes of $75,000 or more, and those making more than $99,000 would not qualify for the program at all. The thresholds for couples are doubled.
According to the bill, the Department of Education would suspend student loan payments without penalty for the borrowers through September 30th.
In the bill, a historic expansion of the unemployment insurance, the federal government would give jobless workers an extra $600 a week for four months on top of their state benefits, which range from $200 to $550 a week, on average, depending on the state.
To add to that, currently, state unemployment checks last up to between 12 weeks and 28 weeks, this varies state to state. Lawmakers want to add up to 13 weeks of extended benefits, which would be covered by the federal government.
Congress was in a spiral on Wednesday to smooth over snags as they rushed to pass the bill, which provides vital assistance to Americans in need, as a last-minute amendment, from Republican senators who argued that the bill would incentivize workers to collect unemployment cheques rather than take a job, failed to pass.
Senator Elizabeth Warren said: “This is not the bill I wanted, but its immediate investments are vital.” “They are also insufficient,” she added. “We will need to do more – and soon.” She said after casting her vote.