House passes $2.2 trillion emergency spending bill

The U.S. House recently approved a $2.2 trillion coronavirus rescue bill, two days after the U.S. Senate passed it, as the pandemic continued taking a heavy toll on the U.S. economy and health-care system. 

President Trump was expected to sign the measure, the costliest stimulus plan in U.S. history. It will send payments of up to $1,200 to millions of Americans; bolster unemployment benefits; offer loans, grants and tax breaks to small and large businesses; and send billions more to states, local governments and the nation's health-care system. 

The rescue bill would provide one-time direct payments to Americans of $1,200 per adult making up to $75,000 a year and $2,400 to a married couple making up to $150,000, with $500 payments per child.  The payments will be issued by the IRS through direct deposits and should be in Americans' bank accounts within weeks. It could take three to four months for the government to mail checks to those who do not have direct deposits set up with the IRS.

Unemployment insurance would be made more generous, with $600 per week added to regular state jobless payments through the end of July. States and local governments would receive $150 billion in supplemental funding to help them provide basic and emergency services. 

Roughly $350 billion will go toward loans for small businesses. Companies with fewer than 500 employees could be eligible for up to $10 million in forgivable small-business loans to let them keep paying their employees. Small businesses that maintain payroll will be eligible for assistance for costs such as mortgage interest, rent and utilities.

The stimulus measure was passed as confirmed coronavirus cases in America exceeded 92,000, with almost 1,400 deaths and more confirmations expected as the U.S. increases testing. The global death toll was more than 26,000; total confirmed cases were approaching 600,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard. 


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