Covid-19 Stimulus Relief Package May Prevent Recession, Economists Say

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    Congress passed the second-biggest economic rescue package in U.S. history as part of a massive year-end spending bill, concluding months of discord between Democrats and Republicans over how to address the pandemic that continues to surge across the country.

    In addition to funding government operations for the rest of the fiscal year, the legislation will provide aid for small businesses, supplemental unemployment benefits and $600 stimulus payments to most Americans and their children starting as soon as next week. It also includes money for schools, airlines and for distribution of vaccines.

    The Senate followed the House late Monday in passing by overwhelming margins the $2.3 trillion bill, just hours after lawmakers got their first look at the 5,593 pages of text. The White House has said President Donald Trump will sign it.

    Economists say the aid should be enough to avert a double-dip recession next year, though risks remain and both parties expect to be wrangling over additional relief measures after President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20. Many of the aid provisions, such as the extended jobless benefits, will expire in the first quarter of next year.

    Biden said his administration plans to do more.

    “I applaud this relief package, but our work is far from over,” Biden said on Twitter. “Starting in the new year, Congress will need to immediately get to work on support for our COVID-19 plan.”

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