WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives will pass Congress’ latest coronavirus aid bill on Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, paving the way for nearly $500 billion more in economic relief amid the pandemic.
Pelosi, in an interview on MSNBC on Wednesday, said House lawmakers were ready to then move on to a fifth effort to continue tackling issues swelling from the outbreak that has crushed the nation’s economy and battered its healthcare system.
“We’ll pass it tomorrow in the House,” the California Democrat said.
The bipartisan $484-billion package, which passed the Republican-led U.S. Senate on Tuesday, includes an additional $321 billion for a previously set up small business lending program that quickly saw its funds exhausted.
It also includes $60 billion for a separate emergency disaster loan program – also for small businesses – and $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for national coronavirus testing.
Pelosi said she hopes the newly provided funds will be able to flow to strapped employers and others as soon as possible after U.S. President Trump, who has backed the bill, signs it into law.
“This is absolutely urgent,” she told MSNBC.
She also said a subsequent fifth aid package should also include money to protect U.S. elections and the U.S. Postal Service.
Reporting by Susan Heavey; additional reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Nick Zieminski.