Politics & Policy

‘At Last We Have a Deal’: Senate and White House Agree on $2 Trillion Stimulus Plan

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks after a meeting to wrap up work on coronavirus economic aid legislation, in Washington, D.C., March 22, 2020. (Mary F. Calvert/Reuters)

Senate leaders and the Trump administration reached a deal in the early hours of Wednesday morning on a $2 trillion emergency stimulus package to blunt the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to spread across the country and has tipped the economy towards recession.

“At last we have a deal,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said from the Senate floor after 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday. “After days of intense discussion, the Senate has reached a bipartisan agreement on a historic relief package for this pandemic. … I’m thrilled that we’re finally going to deliver for the country that has been waiting for us to step up.”

“This bill is far from perfect, but we believe the legislation has been improved significantly to warrant its quick consideration and passage,” Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said, calling the legislation “the largest rescue package in American history.” 

The bill provides $367 billion for small business loans, $100 billion for hospitals, and $150 billion for state and local governments. It also stipulates that Americans who make up to $75,000 will receive a one-time payment of $1,200.

Senate Democrats had pushed for more accountability regarding the bill’s $500 billion fund earmarked for corporations that have been hit hard by the coronavirus. Thanks to those objections, the fund will be overseen by an inspector general and a congressional panel.

The economic relief package is now expected to move swiftly through both chambers of Congress and be signed by President Trump before the end of the week.

The massive emergency stimulus package came after five days of intense negotiations where Republicans and Democrats lost patience with each other for using the bill as an opportunity achieve long-standing ideological legislative goals unrelated to the economic fallout brought on by coronavirus.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who negotiated with Senate leaders on the bill, said Trump would “absolutely” sign the Senate bill as it reads now and urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to pass it in the House without alteration.

“This is a very important bipartisan legislation that is going to be very important to help American workers, American business,” Mnuchin said. “We couldn’t be more pleased. Spoken to the president many times today, he’s very pleased with this legislation and the impact this is going to have.”

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