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President Trump signs coronavirus stimulus aid relief package bill passed by Congress

President Trump signs coronavirus stimulus aid relief package bill passed by Congress

President Trump signs coronavirus relief package passed by Congress

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed into law a coronavirus relief package that includes provisions for free testing for Covid-19 and paid emergency leave.The Senate had earlier Wednesday approved the House-passed bill. 

The moving forward caused the upper chamber to focus its full attention to passing the next relief package in response to the coronavirus crisis. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Senate Republicans had been critical of the House-passed legislation, but emphasized that it is urgent to get relief to the American people amid the coronavirus crisis.

McConnell said once again, Wednesday that he would not adjourn the Senate until it passed what lawmakers are describing as a "phase three" economic stimulus package in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

After an initial vote last week, the House approved a set of changes to the legislation on Monday, clearing the path for the Senate to take it up this week.The House legislation was negotiated between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Trump administration and the President expressed support for it.

To aid in social distancing, McConnell announced ahead of the final vote that senators would take precautions during the vote."What we'll do is have a 30-minute roll call vote. We want to avoid congregating here in the well," he said. "I would encourage our colleagues to come in and vote and depart the chamber so we don't have gaggles of conversation here on the floor. 

That's particularly important for our staff here and the front of the chamber, so I would encourage everyone to take full advantage of a full 30-minute roll call vote. Come in and vote, and leave."

The bill also provides $1 billion in food aid to the needy and $1 billion in unemployment funds to states as the number of coronavirus cases soared to 7,000 across the country.

Trump, describing himself as a "wartime president" fighting the virus, on Wednesday also invoked the Defense Production Act to step up production of medical supplies; praised FEMA's response to the fight and said a "self-swab" test is in the works.

"I only signed the Defense Production Act to combat the Chinese Virus should we need to invoke it in a worst case scenario in the future," Trump tweeted. "Hopefully there will be no need, but we are all in this TOGETHER!"

Amid rising cases, the Trump administration continued to push the idea of allocating $500 billion to issue checks to Americans by April 6 as part of a $1 trillion rescue plan.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Twitter criticized his Republican colleagues for a "totally unnecessary delay" in voting on the aid package and pushed for further relief for those most impacted by the disease.

"We need to make sure doctors & nurses have everything they need. Testing kits, masks, beds, ventilators," Schumer tweeted. "President Trump took a 1st step by heeding our call to use the Defense Protection Act to fight the shortages, but his admin still has so much more to do to fight coronavirus."

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