HarvardX: Confronting COVID-19 – Class 21: Economic Impact/Economic Policy
U.S. Congress approves $ 892 billion coronavirus relief package, throwing a lifeline to the country’s economy after months of inactivity, while also keeping federal government funding.
Expected that Donald Trump will sign this package in the near future.
After several days of heated negotiations, both legislative chambers of the country still managed to agree on a project worth about $ 2.3 trillion, including expenses for the rest of the fiscal year..
The financial solution includes $ 600 payments to most Americans, as well as additional payments to millions of people who lost their jobs during the pandemic.
The new package of measures was adopted in connection with the aggravation of the situation with the coronavirus in the United States, which greatly slows down the economic recovery..
Speaker of the House of Representatives and Democrat Nancy Pelosi said she supports the bill, although it does not provide direct assistance to state and local governments, which the Democrats have lobbied. She believes that her party will try to achieve this again after Joe Biden will take office as president of the country on January 20.
Republican spokesman Hal Rogers endorsed the package, stating that «it reflects a fair compromise».
The congressional ruling fits into 5,593 pages, and includes allocating $ 1.4 trillion to a range of federal programs through the end of the fiscal year in September. The bill is likely to be the last major piece of legislation for the 116th Congress, which expires on January 3. Congress decided to maintain the current level of government spending for seven days, ensuring that there are no interruptions in the activities of federal government.
The net worth of aid is about $ 350 billion, Senate Republican Majority Leader said Mitch McConnell, adding that over $ 500 billion in funding comes from unspent funds sanctioned by Congress.
The current amount of incentives turned out to be much less than the $ 3 trillion in the (Democratic-controlled) House bill in May, but the Republican-controlled Senate ignored.
«Compare the form of the current agreement with the one I proposed back at the end of July.. There is no doubt that this the new package contains the contribution of our democratic colleagues. He’s bipartisan. But agreement could have been reached much earlier.», – said McConnell.
A months-long negotiating stalemate amid the US presidential election was broken after a bipartisan centrist group of legislators put forward a proposal that served as the basis for the final draft. Its final version was so bulky that it caused computers to malfunction..
The law also updates the small business lending program for about $ 284 billion and directs funds to schools, airlines, transit systems, and vaccine distribution..
Small Business Loans and Grants Program, known as Payroll Protection Program (PPP), will exclude public companies from the list of applicants.
Amid reports that Trump businesses received previous government aid, the bill contains disclosure requirements for the president, vice president, cabinet chiefs, legislators, and their spouses, and prohibits these individuals from receiving emergency financial support in the future..
State and local governments, which are struggling to accelerate the spread of recently approved COVID-19 vaccines, will receive $ 8.75 billion from Washington, with $ 300 million of which will go to vaccinate high-risk populations..