The House of Representatives on Thursday (April 23) passed a $484 billion bill for more financial aid for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and others amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Clad in masks, lawmakers passed the bill by a vote of 388 to 5, along with one lawmaker voting “present.”
The bill, following in the footsteps of the original CARES Act from March, was given the green light by the Senate Wednesday (April 22). The package includes $310 billion more injected into the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Also included was $75 billion in allotted funding for hospitals, which have become overwhelmed with cases of the virus, and $25 billion in funding for testing for the virus.
There will also be $60 billion for additional SMB loans.
During the vote, Congressional members had to follow social distancing guidelines, standing six feet apart and wearing the aforementioned masks. Lawmakers were directed to take the stairs if possible, rather than crowding in elevators.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted that the bill would have the effect of fighting the coronavirus and saving lives.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted earlier on Thursday that the PPP never should have been allowed to lapse as “historic tragic layoffs” begin to pile up nationwide.
The PPP was in need of more funding since the first round — $350 billion — was depleted last week. The system had also become overwhelmed with requests from countless SMBs across the U.S. Many ended up getting nothing, and there was criticism over the fact that several publicly traded companies, including hoteliers and Ruth’s Chris Steak House, received PPP funds while others were left empty handed.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) said large firms are not likely to see PPP funds with the second round of the program. The SBA said borrowers will need to prove that they need the money.
Left out of the bill was further stimulus checks for individuals, who last time received $1,200 checks per individual or $2,400 per couple, and $500 per child.
President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill Friday (April 24).