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Congress is adopting a $ 900 billion pandemic relief package; Trump is expected to sign this week

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Andrew Taylor


WASHINGTON (AP) – Congress on Monday adopted a $ 900 billion pandemic relief package that will finally deliver long-sought money to businesses and individuals and resources to vaccinate the nation, which is facing a terrible rise in COVID-19 deaths and deaths.


Lawmakers included an expense bill of $ 1.4 trillion and thousands of pages of other information at the end of the session in a massive package of bipartisan legislation as Capitol Hill prepared to close books for the year. The bill is going to be signed by President Donald Trump, which is expected in the coming days.


The aid package, announced Monday afternoon, flew through the House of Representatives and Senate in a matter of hours. The Senate cleared the massive package by 92-6 votes after the House of Representatives approved the COVID-19 package by another unilateral vote, 359-53. The count was a bipartisan code of months of partisanship and politicking when lawmakers argued over aid, a traffic jam that broke after President-elect Joe Biden urged his party to compromise with top Republicans, which is less than many Democrats would like.


The bill combines coronavirus control with financial assistance for individuals and businesses. It includes temporary unemployment benefits of $ 300 a week and $ 600 in direct incentives for most Americans, as well as a new round of subsidies for affected businesses, restaurants and theaters and money for schools, health workers and tenants facing eviction. .


The 5,593-page bill – by far the longest-running bill in history – was drafted Sunday after months of struggle, pastoral care and post-election negotiations that held back a number of demands by democratic forces as Congress approached. Biden was keen on the deal to provide long-awaited help to people in need and boost the economy, even though it was less than half the size Democrats wanted in the fall.


“This deal is not all I want – not for long,” said Jim McGovern, Massachusetts chairman of the rules committee, a longtime voice in the Liberal Party’s old school’s old school. “The choice before us is simple. It’s about whether we help families or not. It’s about whether we help small businesses and restaurants or not. We are talking about whether we increase (food vouchers) benefits and strengthen programs to combat hunger or not. And we help those who have lost their jobs or not. It’s not an easy call for me. “


Meanwhile, the Senate was also on track to pass a one-week spending cut bill to prevent a partial government shutdown at midnight and give Trump time to sign a broad bill.


Finance Minister Stephen Mnuchin, a key negotiator, told CNBC on Monday morning that direct payments would begin arriving in bank accounts next week.


Democrats promised to get more help as soon as Biden takes office, but Republicans signaled a wait-and-see approach.



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This measure will be funded by the government until September, combining annual measures on annual expense accounts into one package that has never been seen in either the Senate committee or the debate.


The legislation has gone a long way. Democrats played tough ahead of election day amid accusations that they wanted to deny Trump a victory that could help him win. Democrats denied it, but their demands did become more realistic after Trump’s loss, and when Biden made it clear that half-baked is better than none.


The final bill was very reminiscent of a $ 1 trillion package drafted by Republican leaders in the Senate in July, a proposal that then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, of California, ridiculed as too little.


Majority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Won after blocking much more ambitious laws from going to the Senate. He said Biden’s pragmatic approach was key.


“The president-elect’s statement that we need to do something now has helped move both Pelosi and Sumer to a better place,” McConnell told The Associated Press. “My view on what will happen next – let’s take a look at this. I am happy to assess this on the basis of the needs we face in February and March. “


Elected Vice President Kamala Harris, of California, came to the Senate to cast her vote for the bill. “The American people need help, and I want to do everything I can to help them,” she said.


With regard to direct payments, the bill provides $ 600 for people earning up to $ 75,000 a year, and $ 1,200 for couples earning up to $ 150,000, with payments being suspended for higher incomes. An additional payment of $ 600 will be paid to the dependent child, similar to the last round of spring benefit payments.


“I expect that we will receive money by the beginning of next week – $ 2,400 for a family of four,” Mnuchin said. “So much help is needed just for the holidays.”


The $ 300 a week unemployment benefit was half of the additional federal unemployment benefit provided in March under the CARES Act of $ 1.8 billion. This is a more generous benefit and will be limited to 11 weeks instead of 16 weeks. A direct incentive payment of $ 600 also accounted for half of the March payment.


The CARES Act is credited with keeping the economy from collapsing during the broad spring closure, but Republicans controlling the Senate have cited fears of indebtedness in advocating for democracy.


“Anyone who thinks this bill is enough has not heard despair in the voices of their constituents, has not looked into the eyes of a small business owner on the brink of ruin,” said Senate Democratic Party leader Chuck Schumer, a lifelong new Yorker who is strongly made money by helping the transport systems of his city, tenants, theaters and restaurants.


Progress came after a bipartisan group of pragmatists and moderates devised a $ 908 billion plan that built a middle ground that four leading congressional leaders, the Republican Party and Democratic House of Representatives and Senate Democratic leaders, used as a basis for their talks. Lawmakers have called on leaders on both sides to abandon tough positions.


“Sometimes it seemed to us that we were in the desert because people from all sides did not want to give to give victory to the other side,” said freshman Elsa Slotkina, director of the mission. “And it was brutal to watch, to be honest.”


Republicans were most interested in rebuilding the $ 284 billion payroll protection program, which covers the second round of GLP grants for particularly affected businesses. Democrats have won deposits for low-income communities and minorities.


The broad bill also contains $ 25 billion in rental assistance, $ 15 billion in theaters and other living spaces, $ 82 billion in local schools, colleges and universities, and $ 10 billion in childcare.


The nationwide bill is likely to provide for a recent spending of $ 1.4 billion to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border between Trump as a condition for winning his signature. The Pentagon will receive $ 696 billion. Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have won an attempt to use accounting maneuvers to squeeze another $ 12.5 billion into legislation for domestic programs.


The bill has been the driving force behind much of the unfinished business of Capitol Hill, including a nearly 400-page bill on water resources that provides $ 10 billion for the Army’s 46th Engineering Corps to fight floods, the environment and protect the coast. Another application would expand the range of tax benefits that will soon end, for example, for masters of breweries, distilleries and distilleries.


It will also include many of the clean energy provisions the Democrats are pushing for, and incentives for fossil fuels that Republicans prefer, $ 7 billion to expand broadband access, $ 4 billion to help other countries vaccinate their people. $ 14 billion for transit money systems, $ 1 billion for Amtrak and $ 2 billion for airports and concessionaires. Discounts on food stamps will be temporarily increased by 15%.


The Senate Historical Office said the previous record for the length of the legislation was the 1986 tax reform bill of 2,847 pages – about half as much as Monday’s.


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Source: AP News

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