Senate passes second coronavirus relief package

The Senate passed the second coronavirus relief package ramping up benefits for workers hard hit by the economic aftershocks on Wednesday, sending it to the president’s desk for approval.

The bill passed on a 90-8 vote.

Before passage, the Senate defeated three amendments that would have sent the bill back to the House, which is currently out on recess.

Democrats wanted to shore up paid leave benefits in the package, while Republicans were pushing for more support to small businesses under immense pressure to provide those benefits.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged his colleague’s concerns with the package but urged them to address those issues in a third economic bill that lawmakers are still working to craft.

“In this case, I do not believe we should let perfection be the enemy of something that will help even a subset of workers,” he said before the vote.

The bill mandates free testing for the coronavirus, funds more unemployment programs and pays for sick leave for those that contract the virus or need to care for someone that does if they work for a company with a cap of 500 employees.

It also shores up food security programs for vulnerable communities, like the elderly and children and bolsters state Medicaid programs so health providers can handle an influx of patients.

A corrected version passed the House Monday evening, tweaking paid leave provisions.

Though there is still no official price tag on the house bill, the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates it will cost nearly $105 billion.

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