$2T Coronavirus Stimulus Package Stalled Further As Senate Clashes Over Specifics
25 March, 2020, 10:29
Senate leaders and the White House reached an agreement early Wednesday on a massive $2 trillion stimulus package aimed at spurring the economy and helping businesses and workers badly affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
As the US braces for an onslaught of sick Americans, and millions are forced indoors to avert a spike that risks overwhelming hospitals, the most ambitious federal intervention in modern times is testing whether Washington can act swiftly to deal with the pandemic on the home front.
The package had been expected to include a $500bn fund to help hard-hit industries and a comparable amount for direct payments of up to $3,000 to millions of USA families, as well as $350bn for small-business loans, $250bn for expanded unemployment aid and $75bn for hospitals.
Other changes to the final bill included increased oversight of the $500 billion fund managed by the Treasury to shore up struggling businesses through loans and loan guarantees.
"I believe we're on the five-yard line", Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the floor. After two days of partisan infighting in the Senate, the two parties are said to be nearing a compromise.
"The longer it takes, the harder it will be to start up our economy", he wrote.
She noted that they did not, however, secure the funds they wanted for elections, but said it was not something that would derail the bill. "That's the expectation, that we will finish it tomorrow and hopefully vote on it tomorrow", Schumer told reporters.
At issue in the Capitol was an unprecedented economic rescue package.
The deal still needs to be approved by the Senate and House of Representatives, but the stock market rose on Tuesday as reports came out that an agreement was imminent, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining more than 2,100 points, or 11.4%.
Britain's PM announces lockdown to tackle coronavirus The government said Tuesday that more than 11,000 retired doctors and nurses had answered a call to return temporarily to work. Last week, the elderly and people with underlying serious health conditions were told to self-isolate for 12 weeks.
The emerging rescue package is larger than the 2008 bank bailout and 2009 recovery act combined.
House Democrats had introduced their own proposal, which a House Democratic aide said was valued at $2.5 trillion and focused on boosting health care access, unemployment insurance, the health care industry and payments to workers.
The House Speaker told CNBC on Tuesday that "there is real optimism that we could get something done in the next few hours".
"This is a national crisis", McConnell said on the floor earlier.
McConnell had blamed Democrats on Monday for delaying progress on the bill even as Democrats continued to negotiate with White House officials.
"We expect to have an agreement tomorrow morning", he said.
Asked whether the United States could become the new epicentre, Harris said: "We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the U.S. So it does have that potential".
On Tuesday, top defense and military leaders warned department personnel that the virus problems could extend for eight to 10 weeks, or longer. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.