President Donald Trump signed the $484 billion “Phase 3.5” emergency interim coronavirus relief package into law Friday, replenishing the small business Paycheck Protection Program fund and sending billions of dollars in aid to hospitals fighting the pandemic.
In a ceremony in the Oval Office, the president said the bill was “great for small businesses” and “great for the workers,” Fox News reported.
The new law includes $320 billion in new funds for the Paycheck Protection Program, $60 billion for Small Business Administration’s Disaster Loan Program, $75 billion in hospital grants and $25 billion for coronavirus testing, according to a White House fact sheet.
The Paycheck Protection Program was created as part of the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act and converts small business loans to grants to keep employees on the payroll.
A Trump administration official told Fox News on Friday that the Small Business Administration could start taking loan applications again as early as Monday.
In a speech in support of the bill, H.R. 266, California Rep. Tom McClintock said he would support it “with a grave warning.”
“Unprecedented and unconstitutional government edicts have deliberately destroyed the livelihoods of millions of Americans and have set in motion an economic depression and government insolvencies that threaten the very survival of our nation,” McClintock said. “They must end now.”
The bill passed in the House on Thursday and was sent directly to the president’s desk.
During the signing ceremony, the president praised the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the doctors and nurses who are fighting the virus.
“I’m not looking for credit for myself, but I am looking for credit for people in the federal government that have done such a great job and for the doctors and nurses and everybody else,” Trump said.
The total amount of money spent on the government’s emergency response to the coronavirus pandemic has now reached over $2.5 trillion across four bills, according to CNBC.
Democrats are also pushing for additional money to be sent to states and municipalities to help with things such as budget crunches created by the pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the American economy.
As of Friday morning, there are over 884,000 cases of COVID-19 in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins.
Some states have started to reopen their economies while others have extended their stay-at-home orders for a few more weeks.
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