SPONSORED:

Trump signs $2T coronavirus relief package

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal watchdog accuses VOA parent company of wrongdoing under Trump appointee Lawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list Ivanka Trump gives deposition in lawsuit alleging misuse of inauguration funds MORE on Friday signed a bipartisan $2 trillion economic relief package aimed at helping American workers and businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The bill includes $1,200 one-time payments to many Americans; sets up a $500 billion corporate liquidity fund to help struggling industries like airlines; allocated $377 billion for aid to small businesses; and boosts the maximum unemployment benefit by $600 per week for four months, among other provisions.

Trump signed the legislation hours after it passed the House, thanking Republicans and Democrats “for coming together, setting aside their differences and putting America first” with the legislation.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We got hit by the invisible enemy and we got hit hard,” Trump said during an Oval Office signing ceremony, later noting that he believed the economy would come back strongly before the end of the year.

“I think we are going to have a tremendous rebound,” Trump said. “It wants to rebound so badly, but we have to get rid of the bug, we have to get rid of the virus.”

The massive bill, dubbed the CARES Act, was the result of days of high-stakes negotiations between the Trump administration and Senate leaders.

The upper chamber passed the legislation in a unanimous 96-0 vote overnight Wednesday, after it hit a last-minute snag when a handful of Republican senators objected to a provision related to unemployment insurance.

The House followed suit, passing the measure in a voice vote Friday. The passage did not come without drama: House lawmakers were forced to scramble back to Washington Friday over concerns a conservative lawmaker objecting to the legislation, Rep. Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieCheney seeks to cool tensions with House conservatives House in near-unanimous vote affirms peaceful transfer of power Ron Paul hospitalized in Texas MORE (R-Ky.), would force a roll call vote.

ADVERTISEMENT

The president lashed out at Massie in a tweet on Friday morning before the vote, calling him a “third rate grandstander” and accusing him of needlessly delaying its passage.

Trump had urged Congress to pass the legislation quickly as his administration seeks to blunt the economic damage of the coronavirus, which has forced businesses across the country to close and lay off employees.

On Thursday morning, the Labor Department said that more than 3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, marking a massive surge.

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms | Pelosi, Schumer endorse 8 billion plan as basis for stimulus talks | Poll: Most Americans support raising taxes on those making at least 0K Pelosi, Schumer endorse 8 billion plan as basis for stimulus talks Katie Porter in heated exchange with Mnuchin: 'You're play-acting to be a lawyer' MORE, one of the principal negotiators on the legislation from the administration side, said he expects the government to send the $1,200 payments to Americans who qualify for them within the next three weeks.

The $1,200 checks will go to individuals making up to $75,000 per year, with an additional $500 given to each household per child. The payments will decrease for those making over $75,000 and will not go to those whose income exceeds $99,000.

ADVERTISEMENT

The bill marks the third legislative package approved by Congress in order to address the coronavirus, which has sickened more than 100,000 Americans and resulted in over 1,500 deaths domestically, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Mnuchin told reporters at a White House press briefing earlier this week that he believed the bill would keep the economy afloat for three months if the coronavirus effects are felt that long.

“Hopefully we won’t need this for three months. Hopefully this will be won quicker, but we expect that this is a significant amount of money, if needed, to cover the economy,” he said Wednesday.

Trump was joined by Mnuchin, Vice President Pence and other members of the White House coronavirus task force at the signing ceremony on Friday afternoon. Republicans including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHillicon Valley: GOP chairman says defense bill leaves out Section 230 repeal | Senate panel advances FCC nominee | Krebs says threats to election officials 'undermining democracy' On The Money: Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms | Pelosi, Schumer endorse 8 billion plan as basis for stimulus talks | Poll: Most Americans support raising taxes on those making at least 0K Nearly one-third of US adults expect to lose employment income: Census Bureau MORE (Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyPelosi, Schumer endorse 8 billion plan as basis for stimulus talks Hoyer releases 2021 House calendar Ronna McDaniel launches bid for third term as GOP chair MORE (Calif.) also joined him.

No Democrats were invited to Friday’s event, a White House official told The Hill.

The bill’s signing comes as the White House debates when to relax social distancing guidelines for parts of the country as Trump seeks to revive the U.S. economy. The administration is nearing the end of a 15-day period during which officials urged Americans across the country to avoid restaurants and bars, cancel non-essential travel plans and limit in-person gatherings to 10 people or fewer.

Trump has said he hopes to have the country “opened up” by Easter, though public health experts have criticized that goal as arbitrary and cautioned against allowing Americans to go back to their normal daily lives too early because of the risk it could aid the virus’s spread.

—Scott Wong contributed.

Updated: 5:30 p.m.