The US passes the biggest rescue package in history, $2.2 trillion to help people affected by the coronavirus

President Donald Trump signed on Friday $2.2 trillion stimulus package as the country deals with the coronavirus pandemic.

The US surpassed China, becoming the country with the most coronavirus cases. At the time of writing there are over 142,000 reported cases in the country.

The House Representative passed the bipartesan bill last Friday, after a debate in the Senate and a 96-0 vote.

$2.2 trillion US stimulus package to help people affected by the coronavirus

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said:

Nancy Pelosi

Our nation faces an economic and health emergency of historic proportions due to the coronavirus pandemic, the worst pandemic in over 100 years.

The history signing ceremony was held in the White House, no democratic lawmakers were invited, however, President Trump thanked “for coming together, setting aside their differences and putting America first”.

President Trump said:

President Donald Trump

This will deliver urgently needed relief to our nation’s families, workers and businesses.

President Trump also invoked Defence Production Act (DPA), giving him the right to force private industries to create products needed for the national defense. Trump asked General Motors to start producing much needed ventilators to help people with Covid-19.

What is in the bill?

The bill will bring cash payments to many Americans, affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Single Americans will receive $1,200 cash payments, couples – $2,400 and parents will get $500 for each child under age 17.

Single people with income $99,000 or married couples without children who earn $198,000 will not qualify for the package. Families with two children whose earnings are over $218,000 will also not receive the financial help. Having a valid Social Security number is also obligatory to receive help.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said that people should expect their payments to arrive within three weeks.

The rescue package also covers unemployment, including freelancers. Eligible workers will get a weekly extra amount of $600 on top of their state benefit. Self-employed workers like gig workers, freelancers and independent contractors will also be eligible for employment benefits. The amount will be calculated based on the earnings the previous year. Self-employed workers will receive additional $600 benefit a week.

The stimulus package also includes $32 billion in grants for wages and benefits to the airline industry which has suffered a lot since the travel bans and $117 billion for hospitals which are taking the biggest hit in the coronavirus pandemic.

What is not included in the bill?

The stimulus package distributed in the US, however, will not cover undocumented immigrants as they are not eligible. Immigrants rights lawyers argue that this decision can puts the health the whole country in jeopardy as they make up about 5% of the labor force. Since they cannot afford to miss out work, this puts the country n danger of spreading the coronavirus.

S.G. Sarmiento, campaign director for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

From a public health perspective, you cannot have an effective national response to a pandemic that excludes enormous segments of the population. That’s both illogical and immoral.

Critics argue that the US government cannot afford to cover illegal immigrants as unemployment is skyrocketing.

Trump cannot benefit from the rescue package

The bill prohibits any federal elected official and their immediate family to take money from the program. That includes any business with 20% or more ownership by the President, the Vice President, the head of an Executive department, or a Member of Congress or their family.

The democrats insisted on the clause, since Trump has previously used government benefits and charity money for his personal gain or his businesses.

As part of the rescue package, the Defense Department will receive $1.2 billion, however none of these funds can be transferred to Trump’s border wall.

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