Senate passes $2T relief package

Grant Boone
March 26, 2020

It also surges $100 billion of desperately needed resources for hospitals and other health facilities in dire need of medical equipment, and dramatically expands unemployment benefits to help workers sickened by coronavirus or laid off during the crisis.

A vote to amend the bill to cap the unemployment benefits failed Wednesday night.

Previous negotiations indicated that individuals who earn $75,000 in adjusted gross income or less would get direct payments of $1,200 each. An extra $500 would be included for each dependent child.

Pelosi made it clear to members who are disappointed that the pending bill did not include enough of their priorities that they will have a chance to add those provisions in the fourth package, the sources said. "This is certainly in terms of dollars far and away the biggest [legislation] ever done", he said.

The measure drew criticism from some liberal groups and Governor Andrew Cuomo of hard-hit NY, who said it was barely "a drop in the bucket".

Margaret Poydock, a policy associate at the Economic Policy Institute, said some of the key differences between the House bill and the original Senate bill included worker protections and qualifications for the direct cash payments for taxpayers.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on PBS NewsHour earlier Wednesday evening that her party is already looking ahead to address what they would have liked to see in this third coronavirus package in subsequent bills.

"Like all compromises, this bill is far from ideal", Schumer wrote in a letter to Democrats on Wednesday.

"A lot of this money goes to jobs, jobs, jobs and families, families, families", President Donald Trump said at a Wednesday press conference.

Vikings Sign WR Tajae Sharpe
He played in 47 games (with 43 starts) for the Minutemen, and holds school records with 277 receptions and 3,486 receiving yards. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter ) that receiver Tajae Sharpe is signing with the Vikings.

But passage in the House has been made more daunting by the fact that several of its members have tested positive for coronavirus, while many more have self-quarantined after contact with infected individuals.

Former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told CNBC on Wednesday that the U.S. economy could have a "very sharp" recession in the next two quarters, but followed by a "fairly quick rebound", if there's not too much damage done to the workforce and the businesses during the shutdown.

The package includes an unprecedented injection of loans, tax breaks and direct payments for major corporations and individual taxpayers to help the USA economy get through an abrupt shutdown as people avoid social interaction and businesses close to keep from spreading the coronavirus. There is a separate pot of about US$350 billion for small businesses. That is why in this package, part of the loans for businesses will be forgiven if they do not do those things and focus on employees. Mnuchin said every federally insured bank would be authorized to make the loans, and that "by the end of next week" small businesses could apply and be approved on the same day. "This is a proud moment for the United States Senate and the country".

Even his fellow Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, have emphasized the importance of the deal.

Small businesses with up to 500 employees will be eligible for loans equal to 2.5 months of average payroll costs.

Some Republican senators, including Lindsey Graham of SC, voiced discontent over the expansion of unemployment insurance benefits, arguing that this could discourage people from returning to work. Additionally, self-employed workers, like Uber drivers, are covered for the first time.

"I never in my wildest dream believed that we would incentivize people to stop working to take unemployment", said Graham.

"In order to protect the safety of Members and staff and prevent further spread of Covid-19 through Members' travel, the Republican Leader and I expect that the House vote on final passage will be done by voice vote", Hoyer wrote in a letter to colleagues.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER