The Senate Monday night passed a giant year-end spending bill combining $900 billion in Covid-19 relief aid with $1.4 trillion in regular government funding and a bevy of tax breaks for businesses.
The vote was 92-6 after the House passed the combined bill in two votes of 327-85 and 359-53.
The legislation now will go to President Donald Trump, whose aides said would sign it when it arrives at the White House this week.
The House and Senate also cleared a seven-day stopgap funding bill to avert a partial government shutdown while the broader legislation is prepared for the president.
The 5,593-page bill, which totals more than $2.3 trillion, contains the second-largest economic relief measure in U.S. history — after the $1.8 trillion Cares Act passed in March as the pandemic throttled the world’s biggest economy.
Economists say the aid should be enough to avert a double-dip recession next year, though risks remain.
“This latest fiscal rescue package will add approximately 1.5 percentage points to annualized real GDP growth in the first quarter of 2021 and close to 2.5 percentage points to calendar-year 2021 growth,” said Mark Zandi, of Moody’s Analytics. “If lawmakers had not come through, the economy probably would have suffered a double-dip recession in early 2021.”
The legislation would provide direct payments of $600 to most Americans and their children.
Those with incomes of more than $100,000 would be excluded, as would undocumented immigrants.
The payments will go out as soon as next week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday.
For the unemployed, a $300-per-week in enhanced unemployment benefits will be put in effect through March. Unemployment insurance programs for gig workers and the long-term unemployed also would be extended.
There’s $284 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program that provides forgivable loans to small businesses. Companies that previously had a PPP loan can qualify for a new one, and their PPP grants would be made tax deductible.
The package includes money for transportation — including for $15 billion for airlines — vaccine distribution, schools and universities, farmers and food aid.