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Aubrey Layne

Early this morning, U.S Senate leaders of both parties agreed to a $2 trillion stimulus package to help businesses, workers, and the health care systems weather the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

This afternoon, Virginia Secretary of Commerce Aubrey Layne said he is encouraged by the White House, and Senate leaders agreed to a deal. He hopes Congress passes the package quickly.

"This fiscal action, along with the extraordinary monetary measures taken by the Federal Reserve, offers assurances to the individuals and businesses in the Commonwealth, and across the country, that they will be able to cope with the negative economic impact from this virus." Layne said.

Layne said he has not read through the entirety of the 1,000-page document, and still does not have all the details. The comprehensive nature of the package is encouraging to the secretary of commerce. A total of $250 billion will land in the pockets of individuals. Citizens qualifying based on income will receive a check of up to $1,200 individually, $2,400 for a married couple.

Another $250 billion assists in enhanced unemployment benefits. Virginia retains its current unemployment program and adds another $600 weekly per individual for up to four months. Independent contractors and others not paid by payroll withholding of a W-2 form are eligible.

Small businesses benefit from a $250 billion stream of revenue in the package that could be turned into grants if the company meets special conditions. An injection of $5 billion accommodates large businesses hurt by COVID-19 effects. Lane is pleased with the oversight provision that ensures money goes to employees to keep them working.

The health care system receives an influx of $130 billion. Transportation, agriculture, housing, and other aspects of the economy will see benefits should Congress agree to the measure.

States will receive federal aid. Layne said that would help Virginia.

"That will certainly help us mitigate the reduction in revenues that we were expecting because of the slowdown, and in some cases, the shutdown of business in our Commonwealth," Layne said.

Layne said Virginia is facing a health crisis and an economic crisis.  

"I would encourage all our citizens to heed the advice of the medical authorities and base their decisions on their public health based on facts, and advice form their medical resources and authorities, not some arbitrary deadlines," he said. "We want to make sure that the resources that are put out there to weather the storm are used wisely. The way we do that is everybody to heed the advice of medical authorities."