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President Trump signs coronavirus aid bill

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed a coronavirus aid bill as Congress and the White House began working on a third piece of legislation to provide relief to Americans amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Photo Kevin Dietsch/UPI
President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed a coronavirus aid bill as Congress and the White House began working on a third piece of legislation to provide relief to Americans amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Photo Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

March 18 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed a bill aimed at providing relief in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Trump announced the signing of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act in a statement after the Senate sent the legislation to his desk earlier in the day.

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"The act makes emergency supplemental appropriations and other changes to law to help the nation respond to the coronavirus outbreak," he said.

Senators voted 90-8 in favor of the bill four days after the House overwhelmingly passed it in a middle-of-the-night vote. The eight senators who voted against the bill were all Republican -- Sens. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Tim Scott of South Carolina.

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The Joint Committee on Taxation said it expects the legislation will cost taxpayers $104 billion. It includes up to 10 days of paid sick leave for some workers, enhanced unemployment insurance and aims to include free COVID-19 testing for anyone in need. It also contains protections for frontline workers, increased federal funds for Medicaid and more than $1 billion to strengthen food security initiatives.

It's the second congressional package to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak, and lawmakers are already working on a third bill to include more help for small businesses and individuals, including cash payments.

The White House is working with Congress to iron out the details of the new $1 trillion legislation, much of which was proposed by the Trump administration.

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A Treasury Department fact sheet showed the administration wants a plan to give a $50 billion bailout to the airline industry, funnel $150 billion into secured lending or loan guarantees to help other sectors of the economy, and shell out $500 billion in checks to individuals meeting certain income and family requirements.

The cash payments would be sent out in two checks -- one on April 6, the second on May 18.

The proposal also includes a $300 billion loan program for small businesses affected by the virus.

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According to Johns Hopkins University, which has been tracking the global coronavirus numbers, at least 118 people have died and another 7,769 have been sickened by the coronavirus in the United States.

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