Senate passes nearly $500 billion coronavirus relief bill

There may be good news for businesses that missed out on the first round of help from Congress.

The United States Senate approved a $483 billion coronavirus aid deal on Tuesday. It’s the fourth major piece of legislation passed to help Americans and support the country’s struggling economy in the wake of the pandemic.

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The relief would come at a time when businesses need it most. As the U.S. leads the world in the number of COVID-19 cases, many businesses have been forced to close for weeks under stay-at-home orders to prevent the virus from spreading.

The majority of the money, $331 billion, will go towards a small business payroll loan program. Some will also be set aside for smaller banks and lenders that focus on underbanked neighborhoods and rural areas.

Another $100 billion will go to health care, including $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion to help cover virus testing.

“It’s not enough. This was an interim package,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“Unless we get our economy up and running again, it’s not any way we can spend enough to continue to prop up the country,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Altogether the nearly $500 billion will go towards coronavirus relief. It follows the $7.8 billion spending bill in early March and a more than $2 trillion stimulus package signed into law later that month.

The bill got unanimous approval in the Senate and will head to the House where lawmakers will vote on the measure Thursday.

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