Congress OKs Spending Package With $900B COVID-19 Relief Fund

A spending package that includes $900B in COVID-19 relief funds is now headed to the White House for President Donald Trump’s signature after the Senate passed the bill in a 92-6 vote late Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The Senate’s decision came hours after the House voted 359-53 to approve the relief measure and a $1.4T spending bill that would fund government operations through the end of September.

The relief package would allocate $325B in funds for small businesses, including approximately $280B for the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program, about $55B for vaccine distribution, contact tracing and testing efforts and $1.8B in tax credits for companies to provide paid leave.

Lawmakers allocated $82B for schools; $25B in rental assistance; $10B for child care programs; $15B for airline payroll assistance; and $15B in grants for owners of performance venues and theater operators. 

The Hill reported the government funding portion of the 5,593-page package earmarks $696B for the Department of Defense, including a base budget of $627.3B and $68.7B in overseas contingency operations funds. The measure would spend $23.3B on the procurement of 10 Navy ships and fund the purchase of 96 Lockheed Martin-built F-35 fighter jets.

The measure also extends through March the Section 3610 authority, which allows DOD to reimburse contractors for added costs and delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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