WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump signed a $484 billion bill Friday to aid employers and hospitals under stress from the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 50,000 Americans and devastated broad swaths of the economy.
The bill is the latest effort by the federal government to help keep afloat businesses that have had to close or dramatically alter their operations as states try to slow the spread of the virus. Over the past five weeks, roughly 26 million people have filed for jobless aid, or about 1 in 6 U.S. workers
Trump thanked Congress for “answering my call” to provide the critical assistance and said it was “a tremendous victory.” But easy passage of this aid installment belies a potentially bumpier path ahead for future legislation to address the crisis.
The measure passed Congress almost unanimously Thursday as lawmakers gathered in Washington as a group for the first time since March 27. They followed stricter social distancing rules while seeking to prove they can do their work despite the COVID-19 crisis.
Lawmakers’ face masks and bandannas added a somber tone to their effort to aid a nation staggered by the health crisis and devastating economic costs of the pandemic.