The full Senate passed, by a 96-0 vote late Wednesday, a $2.2 trillion relief package, which includes a temporary waiver of required minimum distribution rules for certain defined contribution plans and IRAs for calendar year 2020.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security—or CARES—Act now heads to the House. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said the full House will consider the bill on Friday.
The 883-page CARES Act provides direct payments to individuals, $350 billion for small-business relief/paycheck protection, four months of increased unemployment insurance, $500 billion in relief for affected industries (including a credit facility that could provide more than $4 trillion in loans and loan guarantees), $150 billion for state and local governments, and an estimated $150 billion for healthcare, explains Ed Mills, policy analyst for Raymond James.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., tweeted after the vote: “The Senate just pivoted from one of the most divided periods in recent memory to passing the largest rescue package in American history. And we passed it unanimously. Americans deserved this outcome. I am proud the Senate stepped up.”
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Lawmakers, however, are already calling for another stimulus boost.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., tweeted late Wednesday after the vote: “We face a public health crisis that threatens to bring another Great Depression. Families, hospitals, and small businesses need immediate aid. This is not the bill I wanted, but its immediate investments are vital. They are also insufficient. We will need to do more—and soon.”
In a briefing Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said the bill would be “really terrible” for his state, where hospitals have been overwhelmed by coronavirus cases.
“What does it mean for New York state?” he asked. “It means $3.8 billion. $3.8 billion sounds like a lot of money, but we’re looking at a revenue shortfall of [as much as] $15 billion. This response to this virus has probably already cost us $1 billion, and it will probably cost us several billion dollars when we’re done.”
Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., vice chair of the Joint Economic Committee, said the unemployment numbers reported by the Labor Department for the week ending March 21—a record 3.28 million—offered the “first real look” at how the coronavirus has hurt businesses and the workers they employ.