The 500-page bill includes $500 billion for large corporations as the US grapples with a major economic free fall putting it on the verge of a full-blown recession, as well as a $367 billion loan program for small businesses and $150 billion for assistance to state and local governments. The bill is now headed next to the House of Representatives, which must also pass it before it goes to President Donald Trump for his signature.
Lawmakers say the goal of the relief package is to provide financial solvency for US households and businesses as social distancing practices help contain the spread of COVID-19 and the economy can rebound. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized Democrats for blocking two procedural votes that pushed back the timeline for passing the relief package.
President Trump says he will sign the historic bill.
The Democratic speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, said she hoped the bill could be passed by voice vote. His spokesman said Thune, 59, flew back to his state, South Dakota, on a charter flight Wednesday, accompanied by a Capitol Police officer and wearing a mask.
American workers who earn $75,000 in adjusted gross income or less would get direct payments of $1,200 each, while married couples who earn up to $150,000 receiving would get $2,400 - as well as an additional $500 per each child.
Another $25 billion goes to public transit systems, $4.35 billion of that to NY - with $3.8 billion for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, whose ridership collapsed as COVID-19 spread.
The US Federal Emergency Management Agency said New York, North Carolina and Hawaii had requested special mortuary teams to be ready for mass casualties. That extra amount is available for up to four months. Unemployment insurance will also cover gig workers and freelancers, such as Uber and Lyft drivers, as well as furloughed employees who have been temporarily laid off. Low oil prices lead to less revenue for state government. About half are in NY state. There's a ton of money in this bill for people who need it, but what we're doing now is, every special-interest group in town is trying to get a little bit more - nickling and diming at a time when people are dying, literally dying'.
State and local authorities would receive up to $150 billion in grants to fight the virus, care for their residents and provide basic services. That is down from the $300 million for each that was in the House stimulus bill.
Wall Street stocks closed mixed Wednesday as the markets awaited a vote on the rescue package, the third of its kind in the past month, but by far the largest.
Bernie Sanders later released a statement saying that unless the senators drop their "anti-worker objections", he is prepared to block the legislation in order to impose "strong conditions on the $500 billion corporate welfare fund". Companies would also be able to defer paying the 6.2-percent Social Security payroll tax. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.