$2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill signed into law

Largest economic rescue package in US history passed

Emily Francis/Talon
Graphic created to show the COVID-19 relief package created by Gov Gavin Newson . Click to see full graphic

In response to COVID-19, the Senate passed a $2 trillion relief bill on Wednesday, March 25. The bill was passed in the House and signed into law by President Donald Trump on Friday, March 27. 

This bill will send checks to over 150 million households, set up loan programs for small and large businesses, add money into unemployment insurance programs, increase spending on hospitals and more. 

According to The Washington Post, “The legislation’s goal is to flood the economy with money at a time of financial near-chaos, with entire states on lockdown, many businesses closed, and the numbers of infections and deaths from the coronavirus quickly on the rise.”

The bill was passed unanimously in the Senate.

“I feel certain that we will have a strong bipartisan vote,” Pelosi said at a news conference Thursday morning.

According to Pelosi, the first two bills were about addressing the emergency directly. $8.3 billion for research, for a vaccine, for a cure and funding for testing and the next bill was about masks.

This is one of the most significant pieces of legislation ever passed according to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“The gears of the American economy have ground to a halt. Our country has faced immense challenges before, but rarely so many at the same time,” Schumer said. 

In the week ending March 21, a record of 3.3 million American workers filed for unemployment according to the Department of Labor. Unemployment claims are expected to rise as the pandemic continues.

According to the parent of an Oak Park High School student, who wishes to remain anonymous, the restaurant he works at has suffered a massive loss in clientele which caused the restaurant to close for a short period causing many employees to be temporarily laid off.

“After a week they decided to reopen and we’ve been doing ok, not great but better than before,” the anonymous source wrote to the Talon. “It was hard for them to arrange hours for all the staff to continue to work because if we don’t have a lot of orders coming in then we don’t need many employees.”

As a result of the lack of customers, many employees were laid off and the hours of those employees who remained were cut.

“With the amount I’m making and the new hours I have, it’s hard to pay bills and rent,” the anonymous source wrote. “That aspect I feel the government could definitely do more to help workers like me.”

The new bill includes a one-time payment of $1,200 for Americans who filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return and earn $75,000 or less. These households will also receive $500 per child.

Although the anonymous source hasn’t heard much about the COVID-19 relief bill, he thinks any amount of money given to employees like him would be greatly appreciated and very helpful.

“For me personally, it’ll help pay my rent and bills and help buy necessities for my wife and family,” the anonymous source wrote.

According to the Washington Post “The bill will also give an extra $600 per month for up to four months to people already receiving their state’s unemployment insurance.”