Trump Signs into Law $484 Billion “Phase 3.5” Economic Relief Package

27 April 2020

President Donald Trump on April 24 signed into law a $484 billion economic relief package, known on Capitol Hill as “phase 3.5.” The bipartisan package includes additional funding for the small business Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Paycheck Protection Program

The Senate on April 21 approved the bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, boosting funding for the expired small business loan program by $310 billion, (TAXDAY, 2020/04/22, C.1). The House approved the measure on April 23.

With Trump’s signature on April 24, the PPP, enacted under the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (P.L. 116-136), was revived approximately one week after funding for the program lapsed, (TAXDAY, 2020/04/17, M.1).

“I want to thank Congress for answering my call to pass this critical funding,” Trump said from the Oval Office on April 24. “Great for small businesses, great for the workers,” he added.

Phase Four

Meanwhile, lawmakers are already discussing a “phase four” economic relief package, which appears, at this point, to be largely spearheaded by Democrats. However, several Republican lawmakers and Trump have called for the fourth package to include certain tax cuts and infrastructure funding.

Looking ahead, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has said there will be a large, fourth bill soon, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has called “CARES 2.” To that end, Democrats are expected to propose significant funding for state and local governments in the forthcoming measure.

However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has urged more caution moving forward, considering the historically large price tag on the already enacted economic relief packages. Additionally, McConnell has reportedly put the brakes on Democrats’ drive to provide money to states, saying that without significant reforms, he will not support providing more federal money to help state governments with “mismanaged pension programs.

“On pensions, I called President Trump and urged him to be for it, and he was,” Schumer told reporters this week. “The block there was Mitch McConnell, but there are a lot of Republican senators who want to help out on the pension issue.”