The Senate unanimously passed an emergency stimulus bill late Wednesday night to offset the economic impact of the current health crisis facing the United States.
The historic $2 trillion package includes a $1,200 check to American adults making less than $75,000 a year, $367 billion towards small businesses, and loans of $500 billion to larger businesses.
The bill passed with a level of speed and bipartisanship that's become unusual in Washington, but a small group of Republicans nearly stalled the bill at the last minute.
Republican Senators Lindsey Graham (SC), Rick Scott (FL), Tim Scott (SC.) and Ben Sasse (NE) warned that expanded unemployment benefits to some workers would pay more than their actual job, thereby discouraging them from going back to work and possibly incentivizing them to be laid off.
The Senators claimed:
"A massive drafting error in the current version of the coronavirus relief legislation could have devastating consequences: Unless this bill is fixed, there is a strong incentive for employees to be laid off instead of going to work."
Watch the announcement below.
It's worth noting that Rick Scott of Florida has a net worth of around $255 million. It's unlikely that he or any of the colleagues with whom he made this announcement have had to rely on unemployment benefits any time in the past few decades.
Meanwhile, as businesses across the country closed their doors to comply with stay-at-home efforts to curb the virus, millions of Americans have suddenly found themselves unemployed.
The numbers reflect that, with over three million new unemployment claims last week—the highest amount of new claims in one week in history.
People weren't happy that some of the richest members of Congress would attempt to stall an emergency stimulus because they thought Americans would be lazy.
Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) responded by threatening to hold up the bill over the $500 million fund for corporations if Republicans succeeded in removing the expanded unemployment benefits.
Republican attempts to quash expanded unemployment benefits ultimately failed. The Senate's bill passed and now heads to the House of Representatives.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she expects a strong bipartisan vote.