The Senate unanimously passed a $2.2 trillion emergency relief bill Wednesday night aimed at limiting the financial trauma that the coronavirus pandemic is inflicting on the United States, and lawmakers acted with unusual speed to produce the largest economic rescue package in the nation’s history.
The sprawling legislation, which passed 96-0, would send checks to more than 150 million American households, set up enormous loan programs for businesses large and small, pump money into unemployment insurance programs, greatly boost spending on hospitals, and much more.
Illustrating how grave the situation has become in the United States, the most liberal and conservative senators joined to support the mammoth spending bill.
The legislation’s goal is to flood the economy with money at a time of nearly unprecedented financial chaos, with entire states on lockdown, many business closed, and the number of infections and deaths from the coronavirus quickly on the rise.
Is this a good bill? Not exactly. It’s one very good and some not-bad benefits for ordinary people purchased at the price of corporate America getting to wet its beak in the Atlantic Ocean. Is it substantially better than doing nothing and about as good a deal as could be reasonably expected when a party whose sun revolves around upward wealth distribution controls two of the three relevant veto points? Yes.