Trump signs coronavirus relief bill hours after Senate approves measure

Trump signs coronavirus relief bill hours after Senate approves measure

21:31 - President Trump signed a $105 billion bill Wednesday night to provide paid sick leave from the COVID-19 pandemic while the administration forged ahead with a $1.3 trillion plan to help out-of-work Americans and to rescue the cratering economy, as stocks sustained another massive sell-off that halted trading briefly for the fourth time in two weeks.

The president signed the emergency legislation hours after the Senate approved the measure on a 90-8 vote.

It provides free coronavirus testing, two weeks of paid sick and family leave, increased funding for Medicaid and food stamps, and increased unemployment insurance.

The deal also frees up the Senate to address what is likely to become one of the costliest emergency spending packages in history, to bail out industries shuttered by the pandemic and put cash into Americans’ pockets quickly.

The flurry of activity in Washington showed no signs of reassuring Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1,338 points, or 6.3%, to close at 19,898, although the index was down more than 2,000 points earlier in the day.

The S&P 500 fell 5.1% and at one point dropped more than 7% to trigger an automatic trading halt for the fourth time in two weeks. The tech-heavy Nasdaq plummeted 4.7%. Oil prices dropped 24% to an 18-year low on fears of the pandemic.

The New York Stock Exchange also announced Wednesday that it was closing its famed “pit,” temporarily suspending in-person trading and requiring all transactions to be electronic, starting Monday.

 

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