By a vote of 96-0, Senate passed a massive $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus compromise package just before midnight on Wednesday, ending days of deadlock and sending the bill to the House of Representatives -- where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said there will soon be a "good debate on the floor" over the historic measure to bring relief to individuals, small businesses, and larger corporations.
The 880-page legislation is the largest economic relief bill in U.S. history. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., appeared somber and exhausted as he announced the vote — and he released senators from Washington until April 20, though he promised to recall them if needed.
The unanimous vote came despite misgivings on both sides about whether it goes too far or not far enough and capped days of difficult negotiations as Washington confronted a national challenge unlike it has ever faced.
The package would provide one-time direct payments to Americans of $1,200 per adult making up to $75,000 a year, and $2,400 to a married couple making up to $150,000, with $500 payments per child. After a $75,000 threshold for individuals, the benefit would be reduced by $5 for each $100 the taxpayer makes, per Page 145 of the bill. A similar $150,000 threshold applies to couples, and a $112,500 threshold for heads of households.
The legislation passed by the Senate will use 2019 tax returns, if available, or 2018 tax returns to assess income for determining how much direct financial aid individuals receive. Those who did not file tax returns can use a Form SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement or Form RRB-1099, a Social Security Equivalent Benefit Statement, per Page 149 of the bill.
The bill omits many -- though not all -- items from Pelosi's version of the legislation that Republicans had called wasteful or irrelevant, including climate-change related emissions restrictions for airlines and various diversity-related provisions.
But, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. and the House of Representatives would still each receive $25 million, and unions will likely benefit from provisions requiring many small businesses to stay out of union organization efforts. Those line items galled conservatives when Pelosi first floated them over the weekend, but President Trump signaled earlier in the day that they amounted to necessary compromises to move the bill along.