The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a 484-billion-dollar relief package to boost funding for small businesses, hospitals and coronavirus testing, sending the bill to President Donald Trump for signature.
The lower chamber approved the bill by a vote of 388-5, two days after the Senate swiftly passed the package in a voice vote. Congressional Democrats reached an agreement with the Trump administration on the package earlier this week following days of intense negotiations.
The package will provide more than 310 billion dollars in additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to boost small business lending, as well as 75 billion dollars for hospitals and 25 billion dollars for virus testing.
Calling the new bill "an interim emergency funding package," Democratic leaders have pledged to advance a larger bill, which could include another round of direct payments to households as well as more aid to state and local governments.
The PPP, designed to provide loans for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll during the COVID-19 outbreak, ran out of money last week. In a previously approved 2.2-trillion-dollar relief package, 349 billion dollars had been allocated to fund the PPP.
About 80 percent of PPP applicants said they are still waiting, and many do not know where they are in the application process, according to a survey released Monday by the National Federation of Independent Business.