WASHINGTON – A $483 billion coronavirus aid package flew through the Senate on Tuesday after Congress and the White House reached a deal to replenish a small-business payroll fund and provided new money for hospitals and testing.
Passage was swift and unanimous, despite opposition from conservative Republicans. President Donald Trump tweeted his support, pledging to sign it into law. It now goes to the House, with votes set for Thursday.
“I urge the House to pass the bill,” Trump said at the White House.
After nearly two weeks of negotiations and deadlock, Congress and the White House reached agreement Tuesday on the nearly $500 billion package — the fourth as Washington strains to respond to the health and economic crisis.
“The Senate is continuing to stand by the American people,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to an almost empty chamber.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the bill was made “better and broader” after Democrats forced the inclusion of money for hospitals and testing.
A copy of the measure was provided to The Associated Press by a GOP aide.
Most of the funding, $331 billion, would go to boost a small-business payroll loan program that ran out of money last week. An additional $75 billion would be given to hospitals, and $25 billion would be spent to boost testing for the virus, a key step in building the confidence required to reopen state economies.