A deal was reached in the early morning hours Wednesday on the long-awaited federal stimulus package that lawmakers hope can prevent the nation from falling into a deep recession.
It is the largest economic rescue package in American history. The bill passed the Senate in a bipartisan vote late Wednesday night.
The $2 trillion proposal would provide a one time check of $1,200 to Americans who make up to $75,000, four months of unemployment insurance and $100 billion to hospitals — more than double the earlier Republican proposal.
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"It kind of blows my mind that it would even be controversial to discuss how much support a hospital or hospitals should receive in the midst of a global pandemic," said political analyst and small business owner Alex Goldstein.
He is encouraged by other aspects of the bill, including the $150 billion to state and local governments, $350 billion to small businesses and $500 billion to corporations.
"Is there going to be transparency about where these funds go so that we know that they're not being misdirected?" he asked.
Jen Faigel is the executive director of Commonwealth Kitchen, a nonprofit based in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood and home to more than 50 small food industry businesses.
"Most of these little businesses may not be in business in four months," she said. "What they need is cash. This thousand dollars, to a bunch of people, is not it. They need $20,000, $30,000, $50,000 in cash at a time."
Economists say it could take some time for the money to get into the hands of workers.
"The fastest that we've seen from enactment of a rebate policy to when taxpayers actually start receiving checks is six weeks," said Erica York, an economist with the Tax Foundation.
Lawmakers say oversight and safeguards have been put in place to prevent the abuse of funds.