Congress passes $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill, blocks funding for Planned Parenthood

Congress passes $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill, blocks funding for Planned Parenthood

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Friday to pass a $2 trillion coronavirus relief spending bill. The bill, which is meant meant to give temporary relief to Americans who have lost their jobs or business due to mandatory shutdowns, provides small businesses and certain non-profits money to fund their payroll during the period of the crisis. It is apparently worded in such a way that Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion chain, will not be able to access such funds.

The bill gives $1,200 to most Americans making less than $75,000 per year (and smaller payments to Americans who make more), as well as expanded unemployment benefits, temporary waivers on student loan payments, suspension of certain rules on retirement accounts, and relief for businesses such as suspended payroll tax payments.

It has been controversial due to the sheer size of its spending, as well as it containing hundreds of millions in unrelated expenditures for various public entities, including PBS, NPR, the Kennedy Center, and salaries and expenses for members of Congress.

House leaders initially hoped to pass the bill via unanimous consent, but the opposition of libertarian Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) required House members to return to Capitol Hill for a full recorded vote. President Donald Trump excoriated Massie, stating that while he too doesn’t like everything in the bill, compromises were necessary to “save our workers”:

Ultimately, the bill passed by voice vote, Politico reports. It now awaits the president’s signature.

In one victory for conservatives, Vice reports that the final version of the bill is worded in a way that makes Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion chain, ineligible for the bill’s bailout money. It empowers Trump administration to deny Planned Parenthood access to relief loans via the Small Business Administration. These provisions remain despite the loss of language that would have made the ineligibility of Planned Parenthood – an organization that took in $616 million from taxpayers, almost $370 million in private revenue, and over $590 million in private donations last year – even more explicit.