Trump, Congress agree on $2-trillion aid package
President Trump and Congress have agreed on an unprecedented $2-trillion financial aid package to help people and industries cope with the coronavirus outbreak.
Andrew Taylor, Lisa Mascaro, and Jonathan Lemire reported the news for the AP:
The White House and Senate leaders of both parties announced agreement early Wednesday on unprecedented emergency legislation to rush sweeping aid to businesses, workers and a health care system slammed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The urgently needed pandemic response measure is the largest economic rescue measure in history and is intended as a weeks- or months-long patch for an economy spiraling into recession and a nation facing a potentially ghastly toll.
Top White House aide Eric Ueland announced the agreement in a Capitol hallway shortly after midnight, capping days of often intense haggling and mounting pressure. It still needs to be finalized in detailed legislative language.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are done. We have a deal,” Ueland said.
The unprecedented economic rescue package would give direct payments to most Americans, expand unemployment benefits and provide a $367 billion program for small businesses to keep making payroll while workers are forced to stay home.
CNN’s Manu Raju, Ted Barrett, and Clare Foran wrote:
The majority leader described it as “a war-time level of investment for our nation,” and said that the Senate would move to pass it later in the day on Wednesday. The Senate will re-convene at noon. An exact time has not yet been set for the vote.
The full details have yet to be released. But over the last 24 hours, the elements of the proposal have come into sharper focus, with $250 billion set aside for direct payments to individuals and families, $350 billion in small business loans, $250 billion in unemployment insurance benefits and $500 billion in loans for distressed companies.
The stimulus bill also has a provision that would block President Donald Trump and his family, as well as other top government officials and members of Congress, from getting loans or investments from Treasury programs in the stimulus, according to Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office.
The package, if it passes Congress, would be the most significant legislative action taken to address the rapidly intensifying coronavirus crisis, which is overwhelming hospitals and grinding much of the economy to a halt.
Schumer called it “the largest rescue package in American history,” in remarks on the Senate floor in the early hours of Wednesday morning. “This is not a moment of celebration — but of necessity,” he said.
Richard Cowan and David Morgan from Reuters noted:
McConnell said the package would rush checks to help Americans pay bills during job layoffs related to the outbreak, expand unemployment insurance and deliver emergency loans to small businesses.
It would also “stabilize key national industries” and provide financial help for hospitals and healthcare providers struggling to get equipment for sick patients, he added.
The stimulus package had been expected to boost the economy with a massive infusion of aid, including a $500 billion fund to help hard-hit industries with loans and a comparable amount for direct payments of up to $3,000 to millions of U.S. families.
Other provisions are expected to include $350 billion for small-business loans and $250 billion for expanded unemployment aid.
Schumer said it also included $100 billion for hospitals and health systems, along with additional money for other health care needs.
Another $150 billion would go to help state and local governments fight the outbreak.