Senate Unanimously Passes Bipartisan Wuhan Coronavirus Relief Package

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Posted: Mar 25, 2020 11:50 PM
Senate Unanimously Passes Bipartisan Wuhan Coronavirus Relief Package

Source: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The Senate passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act late Wednesday night. The measure passed with a unanimous vote of 96-0 and has a price tag of $2.2 trillion.

The Senate, however, failed to pass the Sasse Amendment which would prevent people from receiving more unemployment benefits than they would if they had a job. The vote was tied 48-48.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made it clear this would be the Senate's last opportunity to pass the bill before they go on recess until after Easter break. 

Before the vote began, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) urged his Democratic colleagues to vote in favor of the compromise.

"Over the past few days, the Senate has stepped into the breach. We packed weeks or perhaps months of the legislative process into five days. Representatives from both sides of the aisle and both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue have forged a bipartisan agreement in highly partisan times, with very little time to spare," Schumer explained to his colleagues. "It’s been a long, hard road, with a remarkable number of twists and turns, but for the sake of millions of Americans, it will be worth it. It will be worth it to get help to millions of small businesses and save tens of millions of jobs."

Under the bill, Americans would receive a one-time cash payment of $1,200 per adult for those making under $75,000. Couples would receive a one-time cash payment of $2,400 and $500 per child, as long as they make less than $150,000. 

The benefit would be reduced by $5 increments for each $100 the individual taxpayer makes over the $75,000 threshold. A $150,000 limitation applies to couples and a $112,500 limit for heads of households.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly said he would immediately sign the bill once it landed on his desk.

Over the weekend, Republicans and Democrats came to an agreement on a bill both sides could live with. At the last minute, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) blew the negotiations up. She had a far-left wish list that included things like limiting airlines' fuel emissions, bailing out the United States Postal Service and a federal $15 minimum wage. 

When it became clear that Pelosi wouldn't get her demands, she said the House would pass their own Wuhan coronavirus relief package. 

The bill will now make its way to the House. They are expected to vote on the bill on Friday, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said. 

This story has been updated with additional information.