WASHINGTON (AP) –
Congress approved Thursday a new injection of nearly $ 500 billion into the battle against the coronavirus, rushing to help employers and hospitals that resent the weight of a pandemic that has claimed nearly 50,000 lives in the United States and caused the loss of almost a sixth of the country’s jobs.RELATED
The measure was passed almost unanimously, but the bulging margin hides a much more turbulent path that awaits future projects.
The measure was approved after lawmakers met in Washington for the first time since March 27, taking stricter measures of social distancing to demonstrate that they can do their job despite the COVID-19 crisis.
The masks and masks worn by lawmakers gave a gloomy touch to their efforts to help a country battered by a health crisis and its devastating economic costs.
“Millions of people are out of work,” said Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. “It is a very, very sad day. We arrived at the plenary session with almost 50,000 deaths, a huge number of people affected, and the uncertainty of all this. We hope to enter a recovery phase soon. But right now, we continue to mitigate damage. ”
At the base of the project is a request for 250,000 million dollars from the government of President Donald Trump to replenish a fund to help small and medium-sized companies to cover payroll and rent expenses. The payroll program provides forgivable credits so businesses can continue to pay their workers while being forced to remain out of operations because of confinement and social distancing orders.
It also includes $ 100 billion that Democrats demanded for hospitals and a nationwide diagnostic testing program, as well as $ 60 billion for small banks and an alternate network of community development banks that focuses on developing urban neighborhoods and areas. rural ignored by many lenders. It also has $ 60 billion in credits and grants for small businesses through the Small Business Administration’s disaster relief program.
President Donald Trump celebrated the approval of the initiative.