U.S. House begins debate on coronavirus stimulus package

Dan McCaleb | The Center Square

The U.S. House Friday began debate over a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package that would send billions of dollars directly to Americans and provide hundreds of billions more for businesses, health care systems and others impacted by the pandemic.

The measure passed 96-0 in the Senate late Wednesday while the House was in recess.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hoped to be able to pass the measure by voice vote, in which case a quorum is not needed. But fears that a Republican Congressman would demand a roll call vote, where a quorum is needed, had representatives scrambling to make plans to return to Washington.

“We expect to have a voice vote on it, but if we don’t, we’ll be prepared for whatever it is,” Pelosi said.

The stimulus package includes $250 billion in direct payments to Americans depending on their income, $250 billion in expanded unemployment insurance benefits, $350 billion in guaranteed small business loans and $500 billion in loans for businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic.

It also includes $130 billion for hospitals.

If passed in the House and signed by President Donald Trump, who supports it, the legislation would provide payments of $1,200 to each adult and $500 to each child under age 17 depending on a household’s 2019 income. A married couple with children could receive up to $3,400.

The payments start to phase out for individuals with income of $75,000 or more, or income of $150,000 for couples filing jointly. Individuals making more than $99,000 or couples earning more than $198,000 would not be eligible.