US President Donald Trump on Friday signed legislation providing $484 billion to replenish a popular small business lending program and support hospitals and COVID-19 testing amid the coronavirus pandemic, The Hill reports.
The measure includes an additional $310 billion in funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), $60 billion of which is reserved for community banks and small lenders; $75 billion for hospitals; $25 billion to support testing efforts; and $60 billion for emergency disaster loans and grants.
Trump signed the legislative package during an Oval Office ceremony.
The Senate passed the bill in a voice vote on Tuesday, with the House following suit on Thursday in a 388-5-1 vote.
Trump had urged Congress to swiftly pass legislation replenishing funds for the PPP, which ran out of money last week in the absence of a deal on additional funding. Negotiators wrangled over several days to hash out a deal, reaching one Tuesday that the Senate approved hours later.
The PPP, established by the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that Trump signed into law on March 27, is designed to help small businesses hurt by the coronavirus, which has forced establishments across the country to close, leading to massive layoffs.
Over 4.4 million new Americans filed for unemployment insurance last week, according to Labor Department data released Thursday. This brings the total to 26 million who have applied for jobless benefits since businesses began laying off employees in March.
Earlier this week, the number of cases of coronavirus in the United States surpassed the 800,000 mark.
On Wednesday, Trump signed an executive order that temporarily suspends the issuance of new green cards in order to protect American jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Source: Arutz Sheva – Elad Benari