U.S. Congress, Negotiators Reach Deal on $2-Trillion Coronavirus Aid Package

U.S. senators and Trump administration officials have reached an agreement on a massive economic stimulus bill to alleviate the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, the negotiators said on Wednesday.

The Senate will vote on the $2-trillion package later in the day and the House of Representatives is expected to follow suit soon after.

“This is a wartime level of investment into our nation,” Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a speech announcing the pact after days of negotiations between Republican and Democratic lawmakers, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other top aides to President Donald Trump.

“We’re going to pass this legislation later today,” McConnell said.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called the measure “the largest rescue package in American history,” describing it as a “Marshall Plan” for hospitals and medical needs, in a reference to the U.S.-funded program that helped rebuild Europe after World War Two.

“Help is on the way, big help and quick help,” Schumer said.

The text of the pact was not due to be available until later on Wednesday.

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.

Schumer said Democrats won strict oversight rules for the hundreds of billions of dollars in loans on offer to U.S. industries.

TARGETING TRUMP FAMILY

One provision, according to a Schumer aide, would bar businesses controlled by real estate mogul Trump and his family, Vice President Mike Pence, members of Congress and heads of executive branch departments from receiving loans or investments from Treasury Department programs.

The global pandemic has killed more than 660 people in the United States and sickened more than 50,000, shuttered thousands of businesses, thrown millions out of work and led states to order 100 million people – nearly a third of the population – to stay at home.

The money at stake in the stimulus legislation exceeds the amount the United States spends on national defense, scientific research, highway construction and other discretionary programs, combined.

On Tuesday, top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the $2-trillion stimulus bill would work in tandem with $4 trillion in bolstered lending power from the Federal Reserve.

Investors had welcomed news that agreement on the package was near. Wall Street bounced back on Tuesday from three-year lows on word the negotiators were close to a deal.

Trump, who is campaigning for re-election on Nov. 3, has said he wants Americans to return to work more quickly than many medical experts had advised. On Tuesday, he set a target of the April 12 Easter holiday, which would ease a public health clampdown intended to slow spread of the virus.

To become law, the stimulus deal must pass the Senate, where Republicans hold a slim majority, and the House of Representatives, which is led by Democrats, and then be signed by the Republican president.

Mnuchin told reporters after the agreement was announced that Trump “absolutely” would sign it if it passed Congress.

The package “is going to be very important to help American workers, American businesses and people across America,” he added.

Mnuchin urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to quickly schedule a vote on the measure once it clears the Senate. Aides to Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, did not immediately respond to a request for comment when the deal was announced well after midnight.

(Reporting by David Morgan and Richard Cowan; Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell and Patricia Zengerle; Writing by Andy Sullivan and Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Peter Cooney and Clarence Fernandez)

Published in News

Responses

  1. There is no real reason why America cannot be reopened for business today. While those over 60 should maybe remain sheltered in place for their own health and safety reasons, the younger workers – 18 to 60 – could very well begin working, turn on the lights and open America’s doors. While I understand the precautions taken by the outstanding actions of this POTUS and his team (compared to the ineptitude of and lack of any immediate concern for American lives by #44 during the 2009/2010 H1N1 Swine flu epidemic) to prevent the spread of the Wuhan flu, no such precautions – or PANIC – have ever been taken for the season flu which the CDC estimates some 16,000 will die this flu season; a far cry from the 600+ who died from the Wuhan flu.

    1. Still obsessed about Obama and comparing the Trump virus to the seasonal flu I see. No wonder we are screwed with people like you pretending to be scientific and history experts…God save us because POTUS certainly won’t.

      1. Your opinion actually means nothing since you’re obviously infected with TDS as another of those Hate America Socialist dipsticks. Fortunately there are so very few of you to make any difference.

        1. So easy to dismiss reality when it doesn’t fit your narrative, isn’t it? Can you share a valid scientific opinion that backs your statements about the coronavirus and the seasonal flu?

          1. Your asinine, senseless comment should be ignored; BUT, anyone who has paid the slightest bit of attention to the REAL news already knows the CDC has predicted an ESTIMATED 16,000 deaths in the United States from the SEASONAL flu. There have been (at last count) 660 deaths from the Wuhan flu. Simple? Can you possibly determine the mathematical difference between 16,000 and 660? I don’t make up the numbers. And, I have no “narrative”; just discussing the facts with intelligent, like minded individuals. Take the facts as they are intended; OR simply ignore and move on. Who cares?

      2. “God save us . . . .” Aren’t you Socialist radicals (once upon a time called DemocRATs) the Party of the anti-God, mocking religion and promoting Atheism? Check with Dementia Joe and straighten him out on “that thing” he couldn’t say in one of his short under 10 minute blurbs.

          1. I have adequately explained my statements and stand by them. If you cannot understand plain English and the numbers reported by the media; that is YOUR problem.

          2. James, I would encourage you to look at the infection rate and death rate, not the raw numbers. We are still in the early stages of infection, and it is getting worse. Your comment will not age well. Come back to me in a month, and you will be singing a different tune.

        1. Why are you dividing the number of deaths by the number of counties? That makes no sense. Try dividing the number of deaths by the number of people infected, and that will give you the death rate. Then divide the number of people infected by the total population, and that gives you the infection rate. The coronavirus is estimated to have a death rate of around 3% (this is an estimate since it hasn’t been long enough), and it is extremely contagious. Some predictions are that 50% or more will get sick without actions taken. If those numbers play out, 1.5% of Americans will die, roughly 5,000,000 people. Now it probably won’t be that many, but the fact that it could and the fact that hospitals will be overrun, running out if beds and supplies should scare the crap out of you. Have you seen the nightmare in Italy?

      3. Obsessed with the nero wannabe, obutticus???? Yea that is probably true but it is for a reason and that probably escapes you. He was by FAR the worst president we have EVER had and we hope we do not get anyone like him again. The comparison of him to President Trump shows the stark difference of how each reacted to a virus emergency. Another example is Benghazi vs Iraq. President Trump has far and away out performed any of you communist assholes in emergency situations or ANY other situation that has come up. Your reality is the same as tinsel town. You live in a make believe world with NO reality. You are losing the fight and the argument so put your head back up your ass and go crawl back under the rock you came from. James is EXACTLY right.

          1. I will try one last time to get through to you. MY point is this and see if you can follow the logic. H1N1 “Swine Flu” infected nearly 61 million Americans; 12,469 DIED. NO PANIC; nothing shut down; business as usual under the ineptitude of a US-hating Marxist Muslim, America’s worst POTUS and be sworn into the Office of the Presidency on his personal Qur’an.

            Rabies is the deadliest virus in the United States. Three persons are known to have survived who have NOT been treated. NEVER any Panicking. Business as usual.

            Wuhan Flu has caused the death of approximately 660 people in the United States. HIT THE PANIC BUTTON!! Businesses must be closed, some financially forced out of business entirely, workers laid off, schools must be shut down, stores running out of food, instructions on how far to stand away from the person you’re communicating with, MASH-style field hospitals set up to attend to the sick, drive-through places to get tested for this “oh,so deadly” virus.

            The CDC estimates there will be 16,000 deaths from the SEASONAL Flu during the 2019/2020 Winter season. NO Panicking. Business as usual; lots of food in the stores and workers have a job to go to with no thoughts of dying.

            There are 3,141 Counties and equivalents (Louisiana has Parishes, not Counties) in the United States PLUS the District of Columbia. That would add up to 3,142 by anyone’s count. Divide the 12,469 H1N1 deaths attributed to Odumbo by 3,142 for a death rate of 3.968 spread over ALL of the 3,142 Counties. Not all Counties will have a rate that high; some will be higher; 3.968 is an average over 3,142 Counties and the D.C.

            Same formula: Divide the number of seasonal flu deaths by 3,142 and you have a death rate of 5.09. NO Panicking; businesses open, workers have a job to go to, schools open for education or indoctrination as usual.

            Same formula: Divide the number of Wuhan flu deaths by 3,142 and you have a death rate of .021 and there is IMMEDIATE PANICKING all across the Country! The United States and its’ economy are effectively shut down = turn out the lights, lock the doors and go hide in your basement. “We can’t stand the misery of so many deaths” is the message. P A N I C!!

            Some numbers will be higher; New York already leads with North Dakota coming in last. My County here in North Florida has had 8 infected and 2 deaths. Jacksonville – reportedly the largest city in the US in square mileage encompasses all of Duval County – has had 50 infected and 3 deaths. St. Johns County has had 22 infected and 1 death.
            I am an 85 year old widower and my daily routine has not changed one iota. I go to the store when I have a need (like today to Walmart) and will be going camping for up to 3 weeks in April; 2 weeks in May and (maybe) the entire month of June. Me worry? WHY? This is a “Nothingburger”.

            I still fail to see what your problem is with FACTUAL information. You don’t show me that you’re a stupid individual; other than your TDS.