The $2.2 trillion emergency relief bill unanimously approved by the Senate late last night now moves to the House where passage on a voice vote is scheduled for Friday.
The sprawling 880-page bill, which is the biggest economic rescue package in U.S. history, includes direct checks to more than 150 million U.S. households and sets up new loan programs for small businesses and other coronavirus-impacted industries. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said today that Democrats “didn’t get everything we wanted” in the bill but predicted it will pass the chamber tomorrow and be sent to President Trump’s desk for signature.
“It will pass with strong bipartisan support,” Pelosi said. “I don’t think we will get unanimous consent. I think there are some people on the other side of the aisle who are coming here to object to that.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) also said he thinks a voice vote on the bill will be successful. “I do not think there’s a need for anything else,” he said.
After the Senate vote last night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said the Senate intends to recess until April 20 unless urgent legislative action is needed before then. Pelosi said a fourth COVID-19 relief package is going to be needed and has begun outlining priorities for the next phase. Pelosi wants the next phase of relief to include stronger paid leave provisions, additional worker protections and additional direct payments to most Americans. “This is not going to be the last bill,” Pelosi said. “This bill is about mitigation for the damage that is being done…The next phase will be recovery.”
The Labor Department reported yesterday that 3.3 million Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, surpassing the record of 695,000 set in 1982, as restaurants, hotels and other non-essential businesses shuttered to weather the spread of COVID-19. The nation’s unemployment rate was 3.5 percent in February but has already risen to 5.5 percent.