Senate stimulus bill, strike a deal on $2 trillion coronavirus (Details)


Senate stimulus bill, strike a deal on $2 trillion coronavirus (Details).

The White House and Senate leaders reached a deal in early Wednesday on a massive $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill to combat the economic impact of the outbreak.

“At last we have a deal,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said around 1:37 a.m. ET from the floor of the Senate.

Efforts to pass the measure have taken on urgency as hospitals, companies, states and individuals have all pleaded for needed resources to battle the pandemic. Its impact has now seeped into the Senate, where Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., earlier this week announcing he has tested positive for coronavirus.

“In effect, this is a war-time level of investment into our nation,” said McConnell, who promised the bill would rush financial assistance to Americans through direct checks to households, enhanced unemployment insurance, hundreds of billions of loans in emergency loans to small businesses, and more resources into hospitals and medical equipment.

The Senate had yet to release the final terms of the deal. An earlier draft of the bill seen Tuesday would cash payments of up to $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for married couples and $500 per child, reduced if an individual makes more than $75,000 or a couple makes more than $150,000.

The draft language also stipulated a $350 billion fund for small businesses to mitigate layoffs and support payroll.

McConnell said the bill would “stabilize key national industries” to prevent as many layoffs as possible. U.S. passenger and cargo airlines have sought a total of $58 billion in government relief, to help manage a financial blow they’ve said is worse than 9/11. The details of that aid was one of the last major outstanding issues Tuesday night.

″After 5 days of arduous negotiations, after sleep-deprived nights and marathon negotiating sessions, we have a bipartisan agreement on the largest rescue package in American history. said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

He touted “unemployment compensation on steroids,” which would cover every American for four months, as the U.S. braces for historic layoffs and furloughs.

He promised oversight on the loans the U.S. offers businesses, saying “every loan document will be made public very quickly” to make sure those loans are fair. He also said an inspector general and an oversight board would oversee those loans, after earlier criticism from Democrats that a proposed $500 billion fund for businesses left too much discretion to the Treasury.

The deal will allocate $150 billion to states and localities battling the pandemic, and starved of now-delayed tax revenue, he said.

McConnell said the Senate will vote and pass the legislation later Wednesday.

Any deal the GOP-controlled Senate comes to ultimately needs to be passed by the Democratic-led House. It is possible House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who has been talking with Schumer, could push for more changes to the Senate bill before giving it the go-ahead.

Pelosi said Tuesday morning if the parties can compromise and have “unanimous consent” the bill can move quickly through the House.

“If we don’t have unanimous consent,” she cautioned, “my two options with my members is: we can call them back to vote to amend this bill, or to pass our own bill and then go to conference with that.”

President Donald Trump voiced optimism about the package Tuesday, telling reporters at a briefing of the coronavirus task force “we are working to pass the biggest and boldest financial relief package in American history.”

Stock futures were positive in early Wednesday morning trading, following Tuesday’s historic rally.

Friendlier tone
The day leading up to the talks started, for the large part, on an optimistic note that stood in contrast to the bitter partisanship that consumed the Senate floor Monday, when the bill again failed a key procedural hurdle.

Democrats had accused Republicans of favoring Big Business over workers and health care. Republicans said Democrats were causing unnecessary delay by focusing on issues outside the economic crisis facing the country, like giving more bargaining power to unions, increasing fuel emissions standards for airlines, and wind and solar tax credits.

Pelosi rolled out her own House proposal Monday which, though unlikely to become law, further rankled Republicans.

Trump started the day pushing for a deal on Twitter. “Congress must approve the deal, without all of the nonsense, today,” he tweeted Tuesday morning. “The longer it takes, the harder it will be to start up our economy.”


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