March 25, 2020 – The Trump administration struck a deal with Senate Democrats and Republicans on a historic rescue package that tees up more than $2 trillion in spending and tax breaks to bolster the hobbled U.S. economy and fund a nationwide effort to stem the coronavirus.
The plan includes about $500 billion that can be used to back loans and assistance to companies, including $50 billion for loans to U.S. airlines, as well as state and local governments. It also has more than $350 billion to aid small businesses and non-profits, along with $150 billion for hospitals and other health-care providers for equipment and supplies.
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“At last we have a deal,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said early today on the chamber’s floor. “I’m thrilled that we’re finally going to deliver to the country.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called it an “outstanding agreement.”
The legislation is still being drafted but McConnell said the Senate would vote on it today. It would still have to pass in the House before it gets to President Donald Trump’s desk. Speaker Nancy Pelosi had consulted with Schumer throughout his negotiations with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Pelosi said yesterday the House could approve a Senate-passed coronavirus bill by unanimous consent—a procedure that would let the chamber pass the bill without calling members back to Washington—though it’s unclear if any member would object to that plan.
For individuals, the package provides direct payments to lower- and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult, as well as $500 for each child. Unemployment insurance would be extended to four months, the benefits would be bolstered by $600 weekly and eligibility would be expanded to cover more workers.
Democrats demanded and won a series of restraints on corporations that would benefit from loans or investments from the Treasury Department, as well as an oversight mechanism for who gets the money.
Any company receiving a government loan would be subject to a ban on stock buybacks through the term of the loan plus one additional year. They also would have to limit executive bonuses and take steps to protect workers. The Treasury Department would have to disclose the terms of loans or other aid to companies and a new Treasury inspector general would oversee the lending program.
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