President Donald Trump signed the $2 trillion coronavirus economic stimulus bill on Friday, putting in motion desperately needed financial relief for millions of Americans set back by the pandemic.
Trump signed the bill just hours after the House passed it with a bipartisan vote.
After signing the bill President Donald Trump said, “I want to thank Democrats and Republicans for coming together and putting America first.”
“We got hit by the invisible enemy and we got hit hard,” he added. “I think we are going to have a tremendous rebound.”
The legislation, which was passed unanimously by the Senate on Wednesday, will provide billions of dollars in relief for struggling industries, a significant boost to unemployment insurance and direct cash payments to Americans, many of whom have been financially devastated by the outbreak.
Before signing the bill, Trump marveled at the size of it. “I never signed anything with a ‘T’ on it,” he said.
The more than $2 trillion bills is the largest economic relief package in modern U.S. history.
The House vote Friday came after Democratic and Republican leaders late Thursday summoned House members to Washington because they feared the package wouldn’t be able to pass by voice vote, causing lawmakers to scramble back to the capital from their districts.
The bill’s passage came after an emotional three-hour debate on the House floor in which members of both parties largely voiced support for the measure despite some misgivings.
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., urged the House to pass the measure, saying, “We have an obligation to understand and to recognize that this is not partisan. We need to come together as Americans to do what’s right to defeat the virus, which I know we can, and also to restore our economy.”
The measure increases unemployment payments and extends the benefit to those who typically do not qualify, such as gig economy workers, furloughed employees, and freelancers. The bill increases the maximum unemployment benefit that a state gives to a person by $600 per week for four months.
The bill also provides for direct payments to Americans, giving individuals who make up to $75,000 a year checks for $1,200, couples making up to $150,000 payments of $2,400, and an additional $500 per child. The payments decrease for those making more than $75,000, with an income cap of $99,000 per individual or $198,000 for couples.
The legislation also provides $100 billion to hospitals; $350 billion to small businesses; $500 billion to corporations, including airline companies and cruise lines; and about $150 billion for state and local stimulus funds.