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US Senate Passes $484 Billion Stimulus Bill; Trump to 'Pause' Permanent Immigration; Quakertown Fire
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 04/21/20 10:58 pm | updated: 04/21/20 10:58 pm
The United States Senate has passed a $484 billion stimulus bill to refill the popular small businesses PPP program as well as help out hospitals and expand testing. The bill was passed by a voice vote quickly after Congress and the White House reached an agreement. It will now go to the House of Representatives where it is expected to pass as soon as Thursday, perhaps by proxy vote. President Trump will then sign it. The bulk of the funds, $320 million, will be going to extend the Paycheck Protection Program that provides loans to small businesses to continue payroll. That program's initial $350 billion from the CARES Act was exhausted last Thursday. $75 billion will go to hospitals and healthcare providers for reimbursement of coronavirus-related expenses. $25 billion will go to expanding COVID-19 testing for states and the federal government. $60 billion goes to loans and grants for economic disaster assistance. Democrats were also looking to add relief for state and local governments and wanted to increase benefits for SNAP food stamp recipients. Those initiatives will have to wait for the next stimulus package.

President Trump added more details to the suspension of immigration he announced via Twitter on Monday night, 4/20. Trump said that the temporary suspension of immigration into the United States will be a 60-day pause. It will only affect those seeking permanent residency and not temporary workers. It would include those seeking employment-based green cards and relatives of green card holders who are not citizens. More details and other "exceptions" are expected. "By pausing immigration we will help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs," Trump said. "We must first take of care of the American worker." He added, "It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrant labor flown in from abroad."

Beto O'Rourke lashed out on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, 4/21, before it was announced that temporary workers would not be subject to the suspension. O'Rourke said, "Who the f!@# do you think is working on the farms and feed lots, in the packing houses and processing plants at a time where we are struggling to feed ourselves? Who is in the kitchen? Who is picking, preparing, serving the food we eat and cleaning up afterwards?" The former Democratic presidential candidate received a mixed response to his message.

This action from the President, which is expected to come as an Executive Order on Wednesday, will not exactly slam the doors shut on the nation as those doors are mostly closed already due to coronavirus COVID-19 concerns. Travel bans from various parts of the world are still in effect. The State Department has all but stopped processing visas for a number of weeks. The border with Canada is closed expect for essential travel and people are being turned away from the Mexico border.

Firefighters in Bucks County were battling a blaze at restaurant in Quaktertown on Tuesday afternoon, 4/21. It happened around 4:30 p.m. at Bubba's Potbelly Stove restaurant on the 1400 block of West End Boulevard (Rt 309). Heavy flames and smoke were seen pouring from the roof of the restaurant, being fanned by the winds that came behind this afternoon's storms. The fire rose to two alarms. No one was injured. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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