Monday, 06 April, 2020


How the coronavirus stimulus bill helps you

Lead Raju Live Jake Tapper_00004925 White House and US senators reach late night deal on massive coronavirus stimulus package after days of talks
Conrad Doyle | 25 March, 2020, 21:13

Democratic and Republican lawmakers early Wednesday morning in the middle of the night appeared to have reached a bipartisan agreement on a $2 trillion economic stimulus package.

Why it matters: Though the final text of the deal has yet to be distributed, it's expected that it'll include thousands of dollars in direct payments to most Americans, as well as a huge loan package created to help keep small businesses afloat as Main Street struggles through what could become the worst recession in American history.

The House also would need to pass the bill before it gets to U.S. President Donald Trump's desk.

The deal aims to buttress the faltering economy by giving roughly $2 trillion to health facilities, businesses and ordinary Americans buckling under the strain of the coronavirus pandemic.

Chuck Schumer, the democratic minority leader hailed the "bipartisan" deal that he said was necessary but said the legislation was "far from perfect". Several Democrats told Pelosi in a closed-door conference call on Tuesday that they are not comfortable with simply rubber stamping a Senate-passed bill.

Schumer said negotiators agreed to put "unemployment insurance on steroids" by expanding those covered to include people who are furloughed, gig workers and freelancers, and by increasing the payments by $600 dollars per week for four months on top of what states provide as a base unemployment compensation.

There are also provisions to ban stock buybacks for the term of government assistance plus an additional year for any company receiving a government loan from the bill.

It will pump trillions into an economy devastated by the coronavirus.

The Senate bill does not require the Federal Reserve to purchase municipal bonds, but Emily Brock of the Government Finance Officers Association has said that Fed officials provided assurances they intend "to normalize our space".

The massive boost in unemployment insurance is expected to cost $250 billion.

This money would be structured as forgivable loans, meaning that small businesses that pass through the assistance to their workers would not have to pay the loans back, effectively converting those loans into grants. Companies also would be able to defer payment of the 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax.

As the Senate was racing to complete the package, the House gaveled in for a pro forma session on Wednesday morning and gaveled out less than three minutes later.

This was a major sticking point for Democrats: they successfully pushed for oversight, including the installment of an inspector general and a congressionally appointed board to monitor the fund. An earlier draft seen Tuesday would provide cash payments of up to $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for married couples and $500 per child, reduced if an individual makes more than $75,000 or a couple makes more than $150,000.

The speaker has floated the idea of passing the package by unanimous consent - a legislative procedure usually used for non controversial measures.

White House aide Eric Ueland announced the agreement in a Capitol hallway Wednesday, shortly after midnight, capping days of often intense haggling and mounting pressure. "It will rush new resources onto the front lines of our nation's health care fight".

It also includes billions more, he said, to furnish personal and protective equipment and increased for health care workers, testing supplies, and new construction to house patients.

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