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Congress approves $900 billion COVID-19 relief package, with millions allocated for foreign aid

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cash stimulus for coronavirus

Congress passed a $900 billion pandemic relief package Monday night. Despite claims that this is an emergency package for Americans, a significant portion of funds is going towards foreign aid.

For example, Pakistan is set to receive up to $15 million for “democracy programs” and $10 million for “gender programs” and Sri Lanka will receive up to $15 million “for the refurbishing of a high endurance cutter,” a type of patrol boat.

Other countries set to receive aid include Vietnam, Afghanistan, Nepal, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Columbia, Peru, Ecuador, Curacao, Trinidad, Tobago, Venezuela, Georgia and Ukraine.

Despite criticism from many Americans, the bill is expected to be signed by President Trump in the coming days.

The 5,593-page legislation — the longest bill ever passed — has been in negotiations for months.

The COVID-19 relief bill focuses on extending unemployment for Americans, providing stimulus checks and boosting small businesses.

The $900 billion relief package includes $284 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans, $25 billion in rental assistance, extension of eviction moratorium, $82 billion for schools, an additional $300 per week supplemental jobless benefit and billions more for additional programs.

The bill contains $15 billion for theaters and other live venues, $10 billion for child care and $68 billion to purchase and distribute COVID-19 vaccines and help states conduct testing.

Lawmakers also agreed to provide $45 billion in transportation-related assistance, including $16 billion for airlines to pay the salaries of workers and contractors, $14 billion for mass transit agencies, $10 billion for highways and $1 billion for Amtrak.

$13 billion will be provided to farmers and agriculture, including money under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program for growers and livestock, dairy and poultry producers.

Read the bill in full here.

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Economy

TX Federal Judge takes ‘extraordinary’ step to ‘fast track’ ruling on Biden’s student loan forgiveness, forego trial

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Just The News reported on an “extraordinary move” by one Texas judge who is prepared to cancel President Biden’s student loan debt forgiveness payments.

U.S. District Judge Mark T. Pittman, a Trump appointee, says he is ready to decide the merits of Biden’s plan and skip the preliminary injunction and customary trial.

“U.S. District Judge Mark T. Pittman had been holding a hearing on a request from the small business group Job Creators Network’s legal arm on behalf of two plaintiffs to issue a preliminary injunction blocking Biden from enacting the debt relief until the legality of his executive order was decided” Just The News reports.

However, Pittman declared “in a five-sentence, one-page order that the government and plaintiff lawyers had made all the necessary arguments and that a trial would not elicit further evidence so he is ready to move to a judgement on the merits of the case.”

“Having held a hearing on Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction and reviewed the related briefing, the Court intends to consolidate as it appears that the Parties have presented their case and no evidence of significance would be forthcoming at trial,” wrote Pittman.

Pittman said he was prepared to advance the preliminary objection request “to a determination on the merits” and gave the Justice Department and plaintiff lawyers until Friday to file any objections to his plan.

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