US President Donald Trump on Friday, April 24 signed a massive $484 billion bill for employers and hospitals under stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic, international media reported. As the United States is the worst-hit country with over 50,000 deaths, the latest bill has been introduced by the federal government in a bid to help keep afloat businesses that had to be closed or drastically altered amid such unprecedented times.
While the US government ordered stricter social distancing rules to contain the spread of the deadly virus, almost 26 million people have reportedly have filed for jobless aid.
As per reports, Trump further thanked Congress for answering his call to provide critical assistance. The US President called the bill a ‘tremendous victory’; however, easy passage of this aid instalment belies a potentially bumpier path ahead for future legislation to address the crisis.
According to an international media report, anchoring the bill is also a $250 billion request to replenish a fund to help small and medium-sized businesses with payroll, rent and other expenses.
The project aims to provide forgivable loans so that businesses can continue paying workers amid the stay-at-home orders. Furthermore, the legislation also contains $100 billion demanded by the Democrats for hospitals and a nationwide testing program.
Moreover, $60 billion for small banks and an alternative network of community development banks that focus on development in urban neighbourhoods and rural areas has also been demanded. Additionally, another $60 billion for small-business loans and grants delivered through the Small Business Administration's existing disaster aid program is also included in the legislation.
Meanwhile, as of April 24, the US has recorded 903,775 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection out of which around 15,000 remain in critical condition. Earlier this week, in a bid to favour American workers who are looking for a job at home, Trump signed the executive order to temporarily halt immigration amid coronavirus pandemic.
In a daily coronavirus briefing, Trump had said that it would be “wrong and unjust” for US citizens to be laid off amid the coronavirus crisis while “labour flew in from abroad”. He added, “We must first take care of the American worker”.