The economic relief bill, which passed in the Senate with a final vote of 90-8 (60 votes needed to advance), now heads to the desk of US President Donald Trump for his signature to sign the matter into law.
The legislation passed by Congress guarantees free testing for the novel coronavirus, provides additional funding for government nutrition assistance programs, expands unemployment insurance and grants businesses with 500 employees or less the ability to offer two weeks paid sick leave to workers.
Despite opposition toward the bill from some GOP members of Congress regarding the legislation's impact on small businesses, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) expressed earlier Wednesday that he would vote for the plan, even with its "real shortcomings," reported CNBC.
“I do not believe we should let perfection be the enemy of something that will help even a subset of workers," McConnell said.
The Senate majority's bold proposal will put forward an historic injection of liquidity and access to credit for American small businesses — with minimal new bureaucracy, so the assistance can flow as fast as possible.— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) March 18, 2020
The Senate is not going to leave small business behind. pic.twitter.com/B2prmurcAR
McConnell explained that the "imperfections" of the bill now passed by the Senate "will just make our more comprehensive package even more urgent." He noted that Congress will remain in Washington, DC, until that relief to small businesses is granted.
According to the the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are a total of 7,038 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the US, with all 50 states, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, Guam and the US Virgin Islands reporting presence of the contagious disease. At the time of this article's publication the novel coronavirus has caused the deaths of at least 97 individuals in the US.