On Friday, President Donald Trump signed a bill into law which provides a $484 billion infusion of coronavirus spending. The new measure will rush relief to employers and hospitals that are feeling the weight of the strain that the pandemic has caused, which has now claimed almost 50,000 American lives and 1 in 6 U.S. jobs.
The nearly $500 billion “Phase 3.5” emergency interim coronavirus relief package replenishes the funds for small businesses and adds billions of dollars in aid to hospitals across the country amid the pandemic.
The bipartisan measure was passed almost unanimously through Congress this week.
Republican Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona was one of five House members to vote against the bill Thursday.
“The current cure for the coronavirus is most definitely worse than the disease,” the East Valley Republican said in a statement after the vote.
“Not only have we managed to create long-term economic and societal devastation for Americans due to the heavy-handed government response, Congress has added many trillions of dollars to our national debt and expanded our deficit.
“When we emerge from the health care response to this outbreak, we will be dealing with the consequences that we have inflicted upon ourselves for a very long time.”
The new relief bill distributes $310 billion infusion to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which helps businesses with fewer than 500 employees obtain loans that can cover eight weeks of their payroll, benefits and other expenses. Thirty billion of that is reserved for community-based lenders, small banks and credit unions, and $30 billion is for mid-sized banks and credit unions.
The bill also provides an additional $50 billion for the Small Business Administration’s emergency disaster lending and $10 billion in SBA disaster grants.
The PPP ran out of funding earlier this month, spurring Congress to pass the “Phase 3.5” relief package to replenish the PPP funds and fund other programs.
Anchoring the bill is the Trump administration’s $250 billion funding request to replenish a fund to help small- and medium-size businesses.
It also contains $100 billion demanded by Democrats for hospitals and a nationwide testing program, among other funding.