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Senate Approves $484 Billion Coronavirus Pandemic Relief Plan

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The U.S. Senate passed a $484 billion relief package on Tuesday afternoon to fund small business loans, hospital aid, and testing for the Chinese coronavirus. The measure, passed by a voice vote, includes $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, $75 billion for hospitals, $60 billion for emergency disaster loans, and $25 billion for testing.

“This bipartisan agreement will provide more than $320 billion in additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, which is already helping millions of small-business employees receive paychecks instead of pink slips,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said in a statement. “I welcome this bipartisan agreement and hope the Senate will quickly pass it once members have reviewed the final text.”

Two conservative Republicans, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), voiced opposition, but they did not halt passage.

Lee said it was “unacceptable” that the full Senate was not present and voting in the pro forma session. Paul echoed that concern as they called Congress back to session.

The agreement was announced by Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) earlier Tuesday and President Donald Trump tweeted his support, saying he’ll sign the bill if passes both chambers. McConnell swung behind it as well.

“I welcome this bipartisan agreement and hope the Senate will quickly pass it,” McConnell said. As he opened the Senate, he called it a “significant package.”

Schumer said the bill was made “better and broader” after Democrats forced the inclusion of money for hospitals and testing.

“Democrats flipped this emergency package from an insufficient Republican plan that left behind hospitals and health and frontline workers and did nothing to aid the survival of the most vulnerable small businesses on Main Street,” Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said.

Trump said he supports the measure, tweeting, “I urge the Senate and House to pass the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act with additional funding.”