U.S. Senate Passes Gigantic Coronavirus Bill By Vote Of 90-8

Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney infuriated many last month after he was the only Republican to vote with Democrats on charging President Donald Trump with “abuse of power” in the Senate impeachment trial.

Last week, the anti-Trump lawmaker didn’t do himself any favors after he joined several Democrats and went after the president for supposedly not being prepared for the Coronavirus.

Now, Romney has changed his tune and voted to support a Trump-backed bill that will provide substantial resources to combat the virus.

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation on Wednesday providing billions of dollars to limit the damage from the coronavirus pandemic through free testing, paid sick leave, and expanded safety-net spending.

Romney voted in favor of the bill, which the president will sign into law this week.

Congress and the White House are discussing additional stimulus measures that could cost more than $1 trillion.

Lawmakers in the Republican-led Senate largely set aside their ideological divisions, passing the legislation by a bipartisan vote of 90 to 8.

Below are some quick facts from Reuters on the bill and what it entails:

The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that the sick leave and family leave provisions alone would cost $105 billion.

Lawmakers are simultaneously trying to craft another emergency package that could cost $1.3 trillion.

That package could include two rounds of direct payments to Americans, totaling $250 billion each.

The plan also would provide $300 billion for small businesses, $50 billion in loans for cash-strapped airlines and $150 billion for loan guarantees to other distressed economic sectors.

Early this month, Congress approved a first $8.3 billion package to boost the medical response to the pandemic.

Romney took to Twitter and said he was pleased to see the bill pass with bipartisan support in the Senate.

During a White House press briefing on Wednesday to discuss the coronavirus, the president and his team provided several updates on their progress and some of the measures they are working on with Congress.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said his department is making 5 million N95 masks available to health workers, including 1 million immediately, and freeing up 2,000 ventilators from its stockpile.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced that the administration is working to get checks to Americans in two weeks to help workers cope with the economic effects of the crisis.

Nothing has been made official, but some reports suggest the checks could amount to up to $1,000 each.

Trump has decided to suspend all travel from the European Union as well as the U.K. and Ireland.

The president also declared a national emergency over the weekend.

A major report out of South Korea should also give hope to the United States during this crisis.

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