US announces more money for hospitals as death toll reaches 50,000

24 Apr 20

The US House of Representatives has approved $484bn more of coronavirus relief measures, bringing the government’s total spending on fighting the crisis to almost $3trn.

 

Small businesses ($310bn) and hospitals ($75bn) struggling to meet the challenges of Covid-19 will be the main beneficiaries of this latest package, which is expected to be signed by president Donald Trump soon.

The virus has so far killed more than 50,000 people in the US, and more than 26 million people have lost their jobs during the crisis.

Speaker of the House, Democrat Nancyi Pelosi said the number of deaths made for a “very, very, very sad day”, and slammed her Republican counterparts for not supporting local and state governments enough.

Republican majority leader of the Senate Mitch McConnell said earlier this week that he believed the US had “gone so far on the national debt” that he was reluctant to give state governments help through the federal budget.

He said states “would love for us to borrow money from future generations”, but stressed the importance of weighing up the impact on the national debt, and making sure relief was used only for matters relating to Covid-19.

“We’re not interested in solving their pension problems for them. We’re not interested in rescuing them from bad decisions they’ve made in the past. We’re not going to let them take advantage of this pandemic to solve a lot of problems that they created for themselves, and bad decisions they made in the past,” he said.

One opponent of the latest bill was representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents a district in New York that includes areas of the Bronx and Queens, which she claimed is the “most-impacted district in America” by Covid-19.

She said the bill should go further to fund hospitals and testing, protect small businesses and provide rent and mortgage relief for ordinary people.

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