Democrat-drafted COVID-19 Relief Package passed by the US Congress with a Slender Margin, India overtakes China on Confirmed Cases

  • The US Congress has narrowly passed a Democrat-crafted $3 trillion coronavirus relief package (1,815-page HEROES Act) by a vote of 208-199. Reports say that 14 Democrats voted against and 1 Republican voted in favor of the bill. The proposed HEROES Act, if passed in the Senate, will provide every American up to $1,200 or $2,400 for married couples in payments. An extra $1,200 will be provided to every dependent up to a maximum of three. The income thresholds have been kept the same as the earlier CARES Act. People or couples having income up to $99,000 or $198,000 respectively will get the full benefit of the scheme. However, the benefits will start reducing from $1,200 for individuals and couples having income above $75,000 and $150,000. The Democrat-drafted HEROES legislation has done away with the requirement of a Social Security number (as required by the CARES Act) for extending the benefits to the migrants. Some other highlights of HEROES legislation include around $1 trillion aid to state as well as local governments, support for renters and homeowners so that they can make monthly rent, mortgage, and utility payments, and many more. However, the US President Donald Trump has called the Democrat-drafted HEROES Act a “DOA. Dead on arrival.” He went on to say that he’ll use his veto power if the bill reaches his desk for approval. Meanwhile, Russia has reported 9,200 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 119 deaths in the last 24-hours. The total novel coronavirus cases in India on Saturday surpassed that of China as it recoded 85,940 confirmed cases. However, a country-wide lockdown imposed since late March has reduced the rate of contagion in India. The lockdown 3.0 coming to an end on Sunday, it is expected that the government will extend the lockdown but will fewer restrictions. The National Health Commission (NHC) of China has said on Saturday that there have been 8 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on May 15. While 6 are imported infection cases, 2 are local transmissions in China’s northeastern Jilin Province. The US administration has partly restored funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), which they had stopped on April 14, 2020. Reports say that the Trump administration has agreed “to pay up to what China pays in assessed contributions.” Brazil’s health minister Nelson Teich has suddenly resigned after the country’s recorded death toll became nearly 14,000.