New Stimulus Bill Works Through Congress as 20 States Eye Re-Opening Economies
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Known as the "Phase 3.5" coronavirus stimulus package, lawmakers are hopeful a new $484 billion bill will be enough to keep American small business going, but Republican leaders say it's just a stop-gap.
"Unless we get our economy up and running again there is not any way we can spend enough to continue to prop up the country," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-KY).
$383 billion of this latest stimulus bill will be earmarked specifically for small business programs, including the Paycheck Protection Program.
"We want to make sure this money is available to small businesses that need it, people who have invested their entire life savings," Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin said at Tuesday's White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing.
The new legislation is on its way to the House after being passed Tuesday by the Senate. Meanwhile, much of the country is working to re-open.
"Twenty states representing 40 percent of the population, have announced that they are making plans and preparations to safely restart their economies in the very near future," President Trump announced Tuesday.
Still, some of the states rushing to re-open don't meet the White House guidelines. Georgia's governor is preparing to open gyms, bowling alley's, and barbershops this week, despite not seeing a two-week decline in cases of COVID-19.
"When we have more people moving around we're probably going to see more cases continue to go up but we're a lot better prepared now than we were over a month ago," Gov. Brian Kemp said.
Atlanta's mayor plans to disregard the order.
"I certainly cannot in good conscience say that I agree with his order and I will continue to use my voice as mayor of Atlanta to ask people to continue to stay home, follow the science, and exercise common sense," said Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
CDC Director Robert Redfield warned that a second wave of COVID-19 could coincide with the start of flu season and prove to be even more devastating than what we now face. Dr. Deborah Birx says, if there is another wave, the country will be much better prepared.
"We are going to continue that surveillance from now all the way through the fall to be able to give us that early warning signal," Birx said during Tuesday's briefing.
Meanwhile, the FDA says its granted emergency clearance to the first in-home test for COVID-19. And, in the United Kingdom, researchers at Oxford University are beginning the first human trials on a potential vaccine.
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