The House of Representatives voted today to approve a roughly $480 billion package to deliver aid to small businesses and hospitals and expand Covid-19 testing, the latest attempt by lawmakers to blunt the devastating impact of the pandemic.
The vote was 388-5 and passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. Just four Republicans and one Democrat voted against it. Independent Justin Amash voted present.
The members who voted no were Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Republican Reps. Andy Biggs, Ken Buck, Jody Hice and Thomas Massie.
The measure passed the Senate earlier this week and will now go to President Trump, who has expressed support for the legislation and indicated that he will sign it.
Where the money is expected to go: The total price tag of the bill is approximately $484 billion.
It will add to the already historic levels of spending to deal with the pandemic by authorizing an additional $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, which was set up to help small businesses struggling from the economic deep freeze triggered by coronavirus.
Funding for the program ran dry earlier this month, prompting an outcry from the business community.
In addition, the legislation provides $75 billion for hospitals and health care providers to address coronavirus expenses and lost revenue and $25 billion to facilitate and expand Covid-19 testing.
The increased funding for testing comes at a time when there is widespread recognition that testing capacity must increase and improve as states consider when to reopen businesses and lift lockdowns.
Referred to as an "interim" measure by lawmakers, the legislation is the latest historic effort by Washington to prop up the economy on the heels of a more than $2 trillion rescue package along with other relief measures already approved by Congress.