Trump Swiftly Signs Historic $2.2T Stimulus Legislation After House Passage

The U.S. House passed the unprecedented financial rescue measure by voice vote to accommodate those lawmakers who couldn’t make it back to Washington. The bill represents the largest stimulus package in modern American history.

The Associated Press:
Trump Signs $2.2T Stimulus After Swift Congressional Votes

President Donald Trump signed an unprecedented $2.2 trillion economic rescue package into law Friday, after swift and near-unanimous action by Congress to support businesses, rush resources to overburdened health care providers and help struggling families during the deepening coronavirus epidemic. Acting with unity and resolve unseen since the 9/11 attacks, Washington moved urgently to stem an economic free fall caused by widespread restrictions meant to slow the spread of the virus that have shuttered schools, closed businesses and brought American life in many places to a virtual standstill. (Taylor, Fram, Kellman and Superville, 3/27)

Historic $2.2 Trillion Coronavirus Bill Passes U.S. House, Becomes Law

The $2.2 trillion measure includes $500 billion to help hard-hit industries and a comparable amount for payments of up to $3,000 to millions of families. The legislation will also provide $350 billion for small-business loans, $250 billion for expanded unemployment aid and at least $100 billion for hospitals and related health systems. The Republican-led Senate approved it 96-0 late on Wednesday. (Morgan and Cornwell, 3/26)

House Passes $2 Trillion Coronavirus Package — But Not Without Last-Minute Drama

But the House vote wasn’t without some last minute drama, as members from across the country scrambled to return to Washington to block Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) from delaying passage of the bill. The legislation — the largest rescue package in U.S. history — will now go to President Donald Trump for his signature. The president is expected to quickly sign the bill into law after giving it a full-throated endorsement earlier this week. (Caygle and Ferris, 3/26)

The Washington Post:
Trump Signs $2 Trillion Coronavirus Bill Into Law As Companies And Households Brace For More Economic Pain

The legislation passed in dramatic fashion, approved on an overwhelming voice vote by lawmakers who’d been forced to return to Washington by a GOP colleague who had insisted on a quorum being present. Some lawmakers came from New York and other places where residents are supposed to be sheltering at home. The procedural move by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) drew bipartisan fury, including from Trump who derided him over Twitter as a “grandstander” who should be tossed out of the Republican Party. (Kane, DeBonis and Werner, 3/27)

The New York Times:
$2 Trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Bill Passes House

The legislation would send direct payments of $1,200 to millions of Americans, including those earning up to $75,000, and an additional $500 per child. It would substantially expand jobless aid, providing an additional 13 weeks and a four-month enhancement of benefits, and would extend the payments for the first time to freelancers and gig workers. The measure would also offer $377 billion in federally guaranteed loans to small businesses and establish a $500 billion government lending program for distressed companies reeling from the impact of the crisis, including allowing the administration the ability to take equity stakes in airlines that received aid to help compensate taxpayers. It would also send $100 billion to hospitals on the front lines of the pandemic. (Cochrane and Stolberg, 3/27)

The Wall Street Journal:
Trump Signs $2 Trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Bill After Swift Passage By House

The session took place under unusual circumstances. Lawmakers were told to use hand sanitizer when entering and departing the chamber, to avoid elevators and to keep proper social distancing. “People who can see the chamber now will see that we are keeping a distance from one another, not out of hostility but out of love for one another and that we may keep one another healthy and safe,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) on Friday. “It will be an unusual session, but a critical session.” (Andrews and Hughes, 3/27)

Who Got Special Deals In The Stimulus And Why They Got Them

In the race to save the economy and pass the largest economic rescue package in American history, Congress still found a way to do some old-fashioned home state favors and reward key special interests. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) managed to successfully push a minimum assistance figure for every state — $1.5 billion — to make sure small states like his weren’t left out in the legislation. (Emma, Scholstes and Meyer, 3/26)

Kaiser Health News:
In Coronavirus Relief Bill, Hospitals Poised To Get Massive Infusion Of Cash

Congress is on the verge of approving a massive funding bill that would steer an unprecedented amount of cash to the nation’s hospitals that are or soon will be struggling to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. While the bottom-line number for that aid is close to $200 billion, it remains to be seen how fast the federal Treasury will move the money and whether it will get to where it is most needed. (Rovner, 3/27)

The Wall Street Journal:
Unemployment Benefits: What To Know About The Coronavirus Bill

Congress is working to pass a roughly $2 trillion stimulus bill that would expand the amount and duration of unemployment benefits available to laid-off workers. It would also broaden the pool of people who are eligible to receive benefits during the new coronavirus pandemic. We answer questions below on how to apply for unemployment benefits and how the legislation, once it becomes law, would change who is eligible. (Chaney, 3/26)

The Associated Press:
Staying Afloat: $2.2 Trillion Bill Offers Economic Lifeline

The record $2.2 trillion emergency relief package that Congress gave final approval to Friday is aimed at businesses like [Dr.] Ticho’s and people like his patients: Caught in a public health lockdown that has closed companies and brought economic life to a standstill, they are at risk of running out of money and being unable to pay bills or meet daily expenses. The idea behind the measure is to give companies and families a cash cushion to better weather the health crisis and looming recession. When it’s safe to go back to work, dine out and book airline tickets again, the thinking goes, they’ll be more financially ready to return to something closer to normal life. (Wiseman and Rosenberg, 3/27)

The Hill:
More Questions And Answers About The Coronavirus Checks 

Americans are keenly interested in the cash payments included in the coronavirus relief bill that is soon expected to become law. Under the bill, millions of households will receive rebates in the amount of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. The amounts phase out for individuals making more than $75,000 and married couples making more than $150,000. The Senate passed the bill late Wednesday, and the House is expected to pass it Friday. Trump is expected to sign the legislation. (Jagoda, 3/26)

The Associated Press:
Coronavirus Deals One-Two Financial Punch To State Budgets

The coronavirus is pounding state governments with a financial one-two punch, costing them many millions to try to contain the disease just as businesses are shutting down and tax revenue is collapsing. The sharp drop in revenue could jeopardize some states’ ability to provide basic services. States ranging from tiny Rhode Island to California, with the world’s fifth-largest economy, have warned that many programs are likely to face cuts or even elimination. (Mulvihill, 3/27)

The Washington Post:
Van Hollen: D.C. Classified As Territory In Relief Bill Intentionally

Sen. Chris Van Hollen said Thursday that the coronavirus relief package expected to pass the House of Representatives on Friday deliberately classified the District as a territory instead of a state, which means the city will get less than half of the funding it was expecting. Van Hollen (D-Md.) said he doesn’t know how the District got lumped in with five U.S. territories — the city is almost always treated like a full-fledged state by the federal government when it comes to grants, highway funding, education dollars and food assistance. (Portnoy and Nirappil, 3/26)

The New York Times:
As Coronavirus Spread, Largest Stimulus In History United A Polarized Senate

As Senator Chuck Schumer walked the two miles from his apartment to the Capitol early Sunday morning, getting his steps in since the Senate gym had been shut down to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, he knew he and his fellow Democrats had a momentous decision to make. After 48 hours of intense bipartisan negotiations over a huge economic stabilization plan to respond to the pandemic, Republicans were insisting on a vote later that day to advance the package. Mr. Schumer, the Democratic leader, suspected Republicans would present Democrats with an unacceptable, take-it-or-leave it proposition and then dare them to stand in the way of a nearly $2 trillion measure everyone knew was desperately needed. As soon as he arrived at the Capitol, the choice was clear: Democrats would have to leave it. (Hulse and Cochrane, 3/26)

Millions Of Workers In The US Won’t Be Getting Stimulus Checks

Millions of workers aren’t getting any help from the largest emergency aid deal in US history. When stimulus checks start going out across the country, undocumented immigrants won’t be receiving them. That’s not a surprise. They aren’t eligible for most federal benefits. But immigrant rights advocates say leaving this group out of the $2 trillion plan isn’t merely a matter of dollars and cents, and it isn’t something that only affects undocumented workers and their families. It’s a dangerous decision, they argue, that puts the whole country’s health at risk as the novel coronavirus spreads. (Shoichet, 3/27)

Los Angeles Times:
The Coronavirus Stimulus Package Versus The Recovery Act

The last time the country passed a stimulus package was a decade ago, when President Obama faced one of the worst financial crises since the Great Depression. “I think it’s important to note that while it is trying to help the economy, it is really intended to address the public health crisis,” said Erica D. York, an economist at the Tax Foundation. “The country needed to shut the economy down, and people are intentionally not working, unlike the previous recession.” (Kambhampati, 3/26)

Why Isn’t Congress Already Virtual?

Brian Baird says that when he was running through the halls of the Longworth House Office Building on the terrifying morning of September 11, 2001, urging people to flee, he thought first about the safety of his family and then about the survival of the United States Congress. Baird, then 45, was a clinical psychologist and Democrat from Washington State serving his second term in the House of Representatives, sitting in his seventh-floor offices. When the second tower of the World Trade Center was struck by a plane at 9:03, he began to think that people who stayed in those buildings were facing death. He told his staff to keep an eye out the window and came up with a plan. (Scola, 3/26)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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