Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Alabama, spoke Friday on the floor of the House of Representatives to offer his support for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
Byrne said, “Help is on the way!”
“Last week, 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment,” Byrne said. “Small businesses around this country are shuttered. Millions of Americans and their children are at home, practicing social distancing, a term that few knew two weeks ago. Countless others are on the frontlines in our hospitals, doctor’s offices, pharmacies, or simply checking us out at the grocery store.”
“Yesterday, I spoke to many small businesses in my district on a call,” Byrne continued. “I was asked to give them hope. To the American people who are watching, there is hope, and help is on the way!
Republicans have criticized Democrats for some of the spending items in the bill, and Democrats have criticized Republicans for some of the items that were not in the final version of the bill that passed the Senate last week after an often heated debate.
“There are many things in this bill I do not like,” Byrne said. “There are portions that I think are a mistake. But, colleagues, this is our time for action. Do not hold this bill up. We owe it to the citizens of this great country who are struggling. We owe action for them – today.”
The Senate passed the $2 trillion stimulus bill in a late-night session on Wednesday. The members of the House returned to D.C. and passed the bill by voice vote.
President Donald Trump wasted no time in adding his signature to the historic legislation.
“I want to thank Democrats and Republicans for coming together and putting America first,” Trump said.
“We got hit by the invisible enemy and we got hit hard,” Trump added.
The bill gives the Treasury Department $500 billion to assist struggling companies. There is also money in the bill for small businesses to borrow funds to make payroll and other overhead expenses. If the businesses use the money for that they will get their loan forgiven.
Each American taxpayer who filled out a 2018 return is to get a check from the government of about $1,200. Taxpayers with $75,000 or more in income will have to pay it back. There is money for education systems and for state and local governments.
The American economy was growing, and new jobs were being created even before Trump was elected president. Under Trump, the economy soared to new heights with unemployment dropping to record lows not seen since the 1960s during the Vietnam War. The stock market was soaring and set new record high after new record high.
Late in 2019 a coronavirus previously unknown to science apparently crossed over from the bat world to humans at a live animal market in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The virus, now known as SARS-CoV-2, causes a condition that scientists have abbreviated to COVID-19.
The virus which can be transmitted by casual contact has since spread all over the globe killing 33,976 as of press time. Trump shut down travel from China, but our European allies did not. As a result, it quickly began spreading there as well and the USA began getting infections from Europe as well as the infections that had begun earlier from Wuhan.
Faced with projections by scientists showing a potential American death toll in excess of two million, the president made the unprecedented step of ordering an emergency shutdown of most of the American economy in order to slow the spread of the virus and give our scientists time to work on a cure and a vaccine.
Americans are being advised to stay in their homes as much as possible, don’t shake anyone’s hands, wash their hand frequently, don’t gather in groups bigger than ten, avoid getting closer than six feet from other people, and not to panic or hoard supplies. Businesses have been warned not to price gouge.
Congress has already passed two bills to fund the war against COVID-19. This $2 trillion stimulus package is designed to prevent a crushing deep recession caused by the forced government shutdown.
President Trump was optimistic that the stimulus would help the situation and that the economy would rebound once restrictions are lifted.
“I think we are going to have a tremendous rebound,” the President said.
Congressman Bradley Byrne represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He is not seeking re-election.
The legislation, which passed unanimously in the Senate on Wednesday, will provide billions of dollars in relief for struggling industries, a significant boost to unemployment insurance and direct cash payments to Americans, many of whom have been financially devastated by the outbreak.
Before signing the bill, Trump marveled at the size of it.
“I never signed anything with a ‘T’ on it,” he said.
The more than $2 trillion bill is the largest economic relief package in modern U.S. history.
(Original reporting by NBC News’s Rebecca Shabad and Adam Edelman contributed to this report.)