Virus emergency aid package clears the House

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — It’s been a week since the federal government’s small business loan ran out of money. But after clearing the Senate earlier this week, the House voted Thursday to pass an emergency package of nearly a half trillion dollars.

The package includes $310 billion for small businesses.

In a rush to get small businesses the money they need to stay open, House lawmakers hurried back to the U.S. Capitol Thursday to surge billions into a now depleted loan program.

“Our goal is to make sure they keep their employees employed,” Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill, said.

Davis says replenishing the program is vital to ensuring main street survives the pandemic.

“There’s so many mom and pop shops that still need help,” Davis said.

Missouri Democrat Emanuel Cleaver says thanks to Democrats, the bill includes billions for health care.

“We were able to get money for hospitals finally,” Cleaver said. “We were also able to earmark $60 billion for the smallest of the businesses.”

Cleaver says that $60 billion will give minority or veteran-owned small business quicker access to loans.

The earlier program was so popular, it ran out of money before helping everyone.

“Far too many of them were not able to get funding,” Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., said. “But I also know that we have to have eyes on this money.”

Democrats like Kildee also pushed forward a plan to create an oversight committee to monitor the now trillions in federal coronavirus spending.

“The only way we ensure that these programs are going to be operating with integrity is if everyone understands that someone’s watching,” Kildee said.

But Republicans like Missouri Congresswoman Ann Wagner called the plan unnecessary.

“There are already some eight oversight agencies that are already set up,” Wagner said. “Right now it’s important that we stick to getting our economy open.”

The emergency aid will now head to the president’s desk.

Though Democrats pushed to include emergency funding for state and local governments running low on cash, the provision did not make it to the final bill.

Republicans have agreed to address the issue in the next stimulus package.

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