Washington: President Donald Trump signed a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill on Friday, as Washington tries to blunt economic destruction from the pandemic ripping through the United States.
The House earlier passed the stimulus package, believed to be the largest in U.S. history, by voice vote, which simply measures if more lawmakers shout for “aye” or “nay” on whether to support it. The chamber scrambled Friday to block an effort to delay its passage.
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., tried to force a full yes or no vote on the measure, which could have pushed back its approval by hours. Irritated House members rushed back to Washington in cars and near-empty planes to head off his effort, and some eviscerated him for risking their safety. Trump called Massie a “third rate Grandstander” and said he should be booted out of the Republican Party.
The plan, which includes one-time payments to individuals, strengthened unemployment insurance, additional health-care funding and loans and grants to businesses to deter layoffs, got through the Senate unanimously on Wednesday night. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had described the bill “as mitigation” of the pandemic’s destruction, predicting Congress will draft more plans to aid in “recovery.”
“I signed the single biggest economic relief package in American history,” Trump said in the Oval Office as his top economic advisors and Republican congressional leaders stood behind him shoulder to shoulder. “This will deliver urgently needed relief to our nation’s families, workers and businesses, and that’s what this is all about.”
While it is unclear how quickly the government will dole out some of the money such as increased unemployment benefits and small business loans, the White House and congressional leaders have said some individuals will receive direct payments of up to $1,200 within three weeks.