Politics

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Senate Democrats block $1.8 trillion Coronavirus response plan Sunday evening

After three days of Coronavirus response negotiations, Senate Democrats blocked the third leg of an extensive government funding package Sunday evening, which sought to prop-up a devastated American economy and support American industries, small businesses, and workers. In a 47-47 vote, the Senate failed to pass the $1.8 trillion plan, with Democrat opposition claiming that the bill “failed to adequately protect workers or impose strict enough restrictions on bailed-out businesses.” The failed plan, which was predominantly written by GOP leaders, included: direct $1,200 payments to millions of Americans, allowed deferral of student loan payments, increased Medicare payments to hospitals treating a patient admitted with coronavirus, provided small businesses with private bank loans, provided a nearly $500 billion financial lifeline for many of America’s largest industries, and gave generous tax relief to small businesses. ~

Two emergency packages to combat the increasingly urgent public health crisis and economic calamity caused by the Coronavirus have been passed by congress – a $8.3 billion package passed on March 4th, and the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” passed on March 18th. The first bill, according to USA Today, included “roughly $500 million to allow Medicare providers to administer telehealth services to assist elderly patients unable to leave their homes, $2.2 billion for federal, state, and local public health agencies to prevent, prepare for and respond to the coronavirus, $1 billion in loan subsidies to be made available to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture producers, and nonprofit organizations, and more than $3 billion for research and development of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics to prevent or treat the effects of coronavirus.” The “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” was designed to cover the full cost of extensive Coronavirus testing for all Americans, two weeks of paid sick leave for 87 million workers of small businesses, more than $1 billion for federal nutrition assistance, and $1 billion in support to state agencies to process and cover unemployment insurance claims. ~

According to Worldometer and Google Statistics, 40,773 total Americans have been diagnosed with the Coronavirus as of Monday morning, making the US the third most diagnosed country in the world – behind only that of China’s 81,093 confirmed cases and Italy’s 59,138. Of these 40,000+ diagnosed Americans, 479 have died and 187 have fully recovered. In an urgent response to the intensifying global issue, party leaders are expected to continue negotiations Monday and prepare for a second vote Monday evening. ~

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