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House passes $484 billion economic package

iStock/photovs(NEW YORK) — The House on Thursday almost unanimously passed a $484 billion economic relief package aimed to help small businesses, increase testing and assist hospitals on a 388-5 vote.  This is the fourth stimulus measure to pass Congress.

Nearly $310 billion will be put back into the small business loan program, or Paycheck Protection Program (PPP,) and puts aside another $120 billion for smaller businesses.

In addition, $75 billion will head toward hospital relief and bolster COVID-19 testing by $25 billion.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bipartisan measure.

The previous PPP package was recently hit with controversy, with “big cat” companies, institutions like Harvard University, and mega restaurant chains Shake Shack and Ruth Chris receiving large sums from the program.  Harvard, Ruth Chris and Shake Shack have since returned the millions in financial assistance.

Because of this, Democrats passed on party lines on a 227-182 vote a special select committee to oversee how the stimulus funds are spent.

Despite the recent infusion of aid into PPP, Democrats are already hashing out a fifth stimulus package due to concerns that the latest measure doesn’t go far enough.

In addition, President Trump sided with Democrats over a measure that failed with Republicans, in which financial assistance would be granted to cities and states.  Both Democrats and the president agree the money would assist first responders, who risk being laid off due to the impact COVID-19 has left on municipalities’ budgets. 

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