Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
Topline: After days of protracted negotiations and a last-minute effort by Republicans to change unemployment benefits, the Senate approved the largest economic relief bill in U.S. history late Wednesday night, with the House set to vote on the package Friday before it hits President Trump’s desk to become law.
By the numbers, here’s who the bill is allocating funds to:
- $50 billion has been set aside for airlines, divided into $25 billion in loans and another $25 billion in grants, which might not be required for repayment.
- Hospitals, strapped for protective gear and ventilators, are set to receive $130 billion, while the Wall Street Journal said $16 billion would be used to create a stockpile of gear.
- $367 billion will go to small businesses for employee retention, and loans used on payroll, rent, mortgage and utility obligations will be forgiven, while $500 billion is set aside for corporations.
- Most American workers will receive one-time payments of $1,200 (or $2,400 for married couples), while single or coupled parents are eligible for $500 per child.
- $150 billion is earmarked for cities and states, which New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had criticized for not being high enough.
- About $17 billion is set aside for companies who are necessary for national security, which the Washington Post reported was done to ensure assistance for Boeing, citing three sources familiar with the matter.
Crucial quote: “A fight has arrived on our shores,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-K.Y., said on the floor Wednesday. “We did not seek it. We did not want it. But now, we are going to win it.”
Big number: 3.28 million. That’s how many American workers filed for unemployment, according to data released Thursday. It’s an increase of 3 million over the previous week of 280,00 claims—already the highest number of applications since 2017, according to Department of Labor data.
Surprising fact: President Trump’s businesses—or ones run by his children—are not eligible for any of the Treasury Department-backed funding. It’s a provision in the stimulus bill that also applies to Vice President Mike Pence, members of Congress, heads of federal departments, along with their children, spouses and in-laws.
Key background: Wednesday’s Senate vote was delayed after three Republican senators objected to a provision that would have allowed workers $600 a week more in unemployment than their typical hourly wages. The Post reported that the unemployment benefits amendment proposed by the senators was defeated in a separate vote, before the entire Senate voted in favor of the package—minus four members who are quarantined due to testing positive for (or having been exposed) to coronavirus.