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Cleveland.com: House passes $2 trillion coronavirus relief package

Cleveland.com: House passes $2 trillion coronavirus relief package

Sabrina Eaton | Cleveland.com

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday adopted a sweeping $2 trillion coronavirus relief package that will direct money to workers, hospitals and businesses afflicted by the global pandemic. The measure was approved in a voice vote, after numerous members of Congress made speeches to support its passage.
 
“This bill provides critical resources for those who need it most: our heroic health care workers, our small businesses, the unemployed and our local leaders who are fighting this virus on the front lines,” said a speech from Rocky River Republican Rep. Anthony Gonzalez.
 
Because the Senate unanimously approved the measure on Wednesday, President Donald Trump was able to sign it later on Friday afternoon. Flanked by Republicans who helped pass the bill, Trump marvelled how “the invisible enemy” of coronavirus derailed the nation’s thriving economy “and now we’re fighting a different battle.”
 
“But I really think in a fairly short period of time, because of what they’ve done, and what everyone’s done, I really think we’re going to be stronger than ever,” said Trump.
 
At the White House ceremony, Cincinnati’s Steve Chabot, the top Republican on the House Small Business Committee, noted many small businesses have been closed because of the emergency.
 
“Without this legislation, it’s questionable whether they would reopen,” said Chabot. “Because of this legislation, they now have a great chance of that and those people that work for small businesses that are shuttered now will be paid. That’s really important.”
 
The largest economic relief package in modern history calls for the government to send $1,200 checks to individuals who make less than $75,000 and $2,400 for couples making less than $150,000. Families with children would be eligible for an additional $500 per child. The amount would be reduced by five cents for every dollar that a tax filer’s adjusted gross income exceeds $75,000, or that a married couple filing jointly exceeds $150,000. The Internal Revenue Service will disperse the money in upcoming weeks.
 
It provides more than $130 billion to fund the nation’s hospitals and medical needs, and it includes an unemployment compensation plan that will help states fully replace the salaries of workers who have been laid off during the coronavirus emergency.
 
The rescue package also provides $350 billion in loans and grants to help keep small businesses open, assist those who have lost jobs during the crisis and address problems in the health care system that undermined response to the virus. Ohio members of Congress said it would bolster the unemployment insurance system so states can match the missing salary of low-income workers, and give others enough to pay bills during the downturn.
 
In addition, it would provide $30 billion in emergency funding for schools, $25 billion in emergency funding for transit agencies, $1.25 billion for public housing authorities to address increased operational costs and ensure current tenants remain safely and stably housed and $450 million for local agencies and food banks, selected by states, to provide low-income people with emergency food assistance, according to Ohio members of Congress.
 
Russell Township Republican Rep. Dave Joyce said the bill wasn’t perfect, but would give much needed relief to those suffering most from the virus, and would help local businesses and hospitals. A statement from Toledo Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur called the bill "the largest federal boost to our economy in modern history.” A statement from Niles-area Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan described the nation’s situation as “unprecedented.”
 
“While further action from Congress will certainly be needed, the Coronavirus Stimulus Package is a lifeline for families, workers, students, the unemployed, and small businesses impacted by the coronavirus," said Ryan.
 
“In this emergency, everyone is stepping up and doing what they can, from healthcare workers and first responders to workers in critical infrastructure sectors,” said a statement from Holmes County GOP Rep. Bob Gibbs. “It is incumbent upon Congress to support those fighting to stop the spread of the coronavirus and the millions of Americans suffering from loss of work.”
 
A statement from Warrensville Heights Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge said the American people need to know the government will protect their health and livelihood during the crisis. She said the bill isn’t perfect, and further assistance is needed including debt relief for student borrowers, protection for renters and mortgage borrowers, expansion of nutrition assistance programs and help for workers who lose their private insurance.
 
“With workers losing their jobs, small businesses forced to temporarily close, and health care workers facing supply shortages on the front lines, we need urgent action to protect health care workers and put money quickly into people’s hands,” her statement said..