WASHINGTON - The Senate and the House have now passed a massive $2.2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems engulfed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The House took up the measure on Friday and passed it by voice vote. The Senate unanimously passed the bill late Wednesday.
The bill then made its way to President Donald Trump's desk, where he signed it Friday afternoon.
It's the largest economic relief bill in U.S. history, and it comes amid some new grim economic news. Under the current plan, 90% of adults should qualify for an initial $1,200 stimulus payment, with a second payment possible later this spring.
Local members of Congress supported the bill, including Rep. Elaine Luria (D-2nd District).
"I think it's going to be a big boost for individuals. The immediate cash assistance that people are going to receive is going to be much needed for many people," she said.
The government on Thursday reported 3.3 million new weekly unemployment claims, four times the previous record. It's fresh evidence that the U.S. is sinking into recession as coronavirus isolation steps have led to business closures.
Luria is hopeful the bill will help local small businesses.
"The goal is to keep those businesses intact and for them to be able to pick up and have those jobs in the community once we're on the other side of this," she said.
Many lawmakers appear to be in agreement that more help will be needed. "The next package must include protections for front line healthcare workers and emergency responders, who are risking their lives every day," said Rep. Bobby Scott (D-3rd District).
Lawmakers are now heading back to Hampton Roads to assist. Luria is planning on attending tomorrow's sending off of the USNS Comfort, along with President Trump. The hospital ship will be heading to New York to help increase hospital capacity.
"I think it's very fitting that the President is going to see off the Sailors who are going to respond in a great time of need," she said. "It's something that happens from Hampton Roads very often. When the nation calls, our military responds."