President Donald Trump signed into law the largest stimulus package in U.S. history Friday as part of the response to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
This story by Erik Wasson and Billy House appeared in Automotive News.
“This will deliver urgently needed relief,” Trump told reporters at the White House, as he was joined by GOP leaders but no Democrats. “We’re going to keep our small businesses strong and our big businesses strong.”
The House passed the $2 trillion package by voice vote earlier Friday, after the Senate’s 96-0 vote Wednesday to approve the measure.
“Our nation faces an economic and health emergency of historic proportions,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said before the vote. “We do know that we must do more.”
The auto industry has not sought specific aid in the package, but rather would benefit from the overall economic support promised by the legislation. Dealers stand to get aid through small business loans and other incentives.
Congressional action comes as the U.S. is reeling from the effects of the global health crisis. Infections in the U.S. have topped 92,000, passing the number of cases in China where the disease first emerged. Unemployment claims spiked to 3.3 million last week, dwarfing previous highs in Labor Department reports published since 1967.
“To the American public, if you do your part, I promise we will do ours,” Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said Friday. “We are going to help Americans through this. We are going to do this together.”
The size of the stimulus package is unprecedented, surpassing the approximately $800 billion Obama stimulus that passed five months after the 2008 financial crash. Together with Federal Reserve actions, the legislation will amount to a injection of $6 trillion into the economy, according to White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, or about 30 percent of annual gross domestic product.
Friday’s House vote took place under unusual circumstances, with two members of the House known to be infected with the coronavirus and others placing themselves in quarantine because of possible contact.