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Trump signs $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid bill into law

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 27, 2020 - Duration: 02:45s

Trump signs $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid bill into law

U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law the largest fiscal relief measure ever passed by Congress on Friday, moments after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill, despite calls for a delay from one GOP lawmaker that led to a twitter feud with Trump.

Gavino Garay has more.

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Trump signs $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid bill into law

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SAYING: "This will deliver urgently needed relief to American families, workers and businesses." U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday swiftly signed A $2.2 trillion dollar emergency coronavirus relief measure into law -- the largest aid package ever passed by Congress.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the legislation on Friday by a simple voice vote, instead of having lawmakers who are self-isolated or working remotely physically present to record their votes by tally.

Lawmakers were fanned out at safe social distances for the vote -- A SURREAL image in what would normally be a packed chamber.

But the vote in the House wasn't without some drama, as Republican Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie, dubbed 'Mr. No', attempted to delay the measure by forcing a recorded vote, over his view that the bill gives too much power to the Federal Reserve.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REPUBLICAN KENTUCKY CONGRESSMAN THOMAS MASSIE, SAYING: "I object on the basis that a quorum is not present." Leaders of both parties asked members from across the country to fly into Washington during a pandemic to ensure there would be enough present to head off Massie's gambit.

Trump lashed out at Massi on Twitter, calling him a "third rate grandstander" who should be kicked out of the Republican Party.

The rare bipartisan support in Congress, including from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy who even shared the same stage on Friday, often at odds with each other, underscored how seriously lawmakers are taking the global pandemic as Americans suffer and the medical system threatens to buckle.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying: "Right now we are going to pass this legislation." (SOUNDBITE) (English) Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy saying: "We are going to help Americans through this.

We are going to do this together." The CARES Act aims to provide desperately needed financial relief for American workers and businesses badly suffering as a result of self-isolation guidance at the state and federal level to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The emergency funding will rush direct payments to Americans within three weeks.

The $2.2 trillion measure includes $500 billion to help hard-hit industries and $290 billion for payments of up to $3,000 to millions of families.

It will also provide $350 billion for small-business loans, $250 billion for expanded unemployment aid and at least $100 billion for hospitals and related health systems.

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