Federal Update: House Democrats Roll Out $3 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Bill, U.S. Posts Record $738 Billion Budget Deficit in April, U.S. Could Conduct up to 50M Coronavirus Tests per Month by Fall

May 12, 2020

  • House Democrats unveiled their opening bid Tuesday in the next debate on Capitol Hill over how to fight the coronavirus and revive the economy, a sweeping bill set to be voted on at the end of the week. The 1,815-page bill, dubbed the “HEROES Act” by Democrats, was projected to cost a little over $3 trillion as of Tuesday morning, according to a House Democratic aide. It includes bolstering the direct payments program put in place in the $1.8 trillion coronavirus bill passed in late March, additional monies for state and local governments, and extending the expiration date for some unemployment benefits related to the pandemic. The bill is expected to meet with a chilly reception in the Senate, where Republicans have said they’re in no hurry to move on another bill soon and are focused on protecting business owners from litigation by workers or customers when establishments reopen.
  • The United States posted a record $738 billion budget deficit in April, according to a Treasury Department report released Tuesday, as federal spending soared to address the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the nation. Federal spending climbed to nearly $980 billion last month as the federal government began doling out funds from the $2 trillion relief package Congress passed at the end of March. Lawmakers then added to it last month with roughly $480 billion in new funding for small businesses, hospitals and other priorities.
  • HHS testing czar Brett Giroir predicted Tuesday that the U.S. will be able to test up to 50 million people per month for the coronavirus by September. That would be roughly four times the 12.9-million test goal the administration set for May and announced Monday. "We project that our nation will be capable of performing at least 40 to 50 million tests per month if needed at that time," Giroir said Tuesday. A significant portion of that capacity — 25 million to 30 million tests — would come from "point of care" tests that can be analyzed in hospitals and doctors' offices, he added.

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