April 24, 2020
WASHINGTON (AP) – Congress has delivered a nearly $500 billion infusion of coronavirus spending, almost unanimously rushing new relief to employers and hospitals buckling under the strain of a pandemic that has claimed almost 50,000 American lives and one in six U.S. jobs.
President Donald Trump is scheduled to sign the bill during a White House ceremony Friday.
House lawmakers gathered in Washington for the first time since March 27, adopting stricter social distancing rules while aiming to prove they can do their work despite the COVID-19 crisis.
Anchoring the bill is the Trump administration’s $250 billion funding request to replenish a fund to help small- and medium-size businesses with payroll, rent and other expenses. It also contains $100 billion demanded by Democrats for hospitals and a nationwide testing program.
More than 4.4 million laid-off Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week. In all, roughly 26 million people – the population of the 10 biggest U.S. cities combined – have now filed for jobless aid in five weeks.