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Senate unanimously passes $2 trillion stimulus plan

The Senate voted unanimously on Wednesday to approve a sweeping $2 trillion fiscal measure to shore up the U.S. economy as it weathers the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic, advancing the largest fiscal stimulus package in modern American history.

The House was expected to quickly take up the bill on Friday and pass it, sending it to President Trump for his signature.

The legislation would send direct payments of $1,200 to Americans earning up to $75,000 — which would gradually phase out for higher earners and end for those with incomes more than $99,000 — and an additional $500 per child. It would substantially expand jobless aid, providing an additional 13 weeks and a four-month enhancement of benefits, extending them for the first time to freelancers and gig workers, and adding $600 per week on top of the usual payment.

The measure would also provide $350 billion in federally guaranteed loans to small businesses and establish a $500 billion government lending program for distressed companies reeling from the crisis, allowing the administration to take equity stakes in airlines that received aid to help compensate taxpayers. It would also send $100 billion to hospitals on the front lines of the pandemic.

The bill was the product of intense bipartisan negotiations among Republicans, Democrats and the White House. Three senators were absent from the late-night roll call because of the virus. Sen. Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, has contracted Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, while two Utah Republicans, Sens. Mitt Romney and Mike Lee, were in self-isolation after spending time with Mr. Paul.

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the second-ranking Republican, also missed the vote because he wasn’t feeling well and had left Washington to return home, a spokesman said.

The $2 trillion stimulus package passed by the Senate is not final — it still needs approval from the House and President Trump’s signature. But if it passes, here’s what it will offer Americans.

[Read The News' continuing coverage of the rapidly developing coronavirus crisis]

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