Monday, 06 April, 2020


US Senate negotiators upbeat on passage of stimulus Bill

Steven Mnuchin leaving Chuck Schumer's office Enlarge Image CQ-Roll Call Inc via Getty Images
Conrad Doyle | 25 March, 2020, 10:26

She said she was pleased by the plan's new provisions, such as new oversight of funds that could be distributed to larger industries hit hard by the pandemic and support to local and state governments.

The Democrats, who had pushed back against giving corporations loans, were able to include measures to ensure "strict oversight, transparency and accountability" over them, Schumer said.

Chuck Schumer, the democratic minority leader hailed the "bipartisan" deal that he said was necessary but said the legislation was "far from perfect".

Among the changes he said Democrats have secured is a major expansion of the Unemployment Insurance program. The Pentagon said on Tuesday that 174 US service members are confirmed to have the virus, an increase of 41 from the previous day.

Opening the Senate on Tuesday, McConnell combined optimism about the chances for a deal with frustration at the delays - and a sober view of the crisis at hand. It comes at a time when millions of Americans have been asked to stay away from school and work, and remain inside their homes to reduce the spread of the disease.

It comes as officials in the worst affected area, New York State, warn that they are running dangerously low on medical supplies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up almost 10% at noon.

Schumer's main rival in the Senate, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, was also optimistic about the deal, hailing it as "a bipartisan agreement".

"We're on the 5-yard line". On the negotiations, he said: "It's taken a lot of noise and a lot of rhetoric to get us here". "At the end of the 15-day period, we will make a decision as to which way we want to go". "We are a country not based on nationalizing our business", said Trump, who has repeatedly railed against socialism overseas and among Democrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated Tuesday that the fastest way for the House to approve the Senate bill would be by unanimous consent, a tactic generally reserved for small, noncontroversial legislation.

"The easiest way to do it is for us to come to put aside some of our concerns for another day and get this done", Pelosi said.

Mnuchin had shuttled between the Capitol offices of the Senate's leaders as they and staffers hammered out the language of the bill.

He said the package is the first step to restoring "confidence and stability" to the economy, stating he hoped the country would reopen "very soon".

Tuesday's optimism was in sharp contrast to Monday's back-and-forth in the Senate.

He said it will inject trillions of dollars into the USA economy as fast as possible to help workers and industry weather the hardships caused by the pandemic and exit it "ready to soar".

Despite the unusually bitter partisan bickering Monday on the Senate floor, Pelosi predicted Tuesday that the final bill would represent a solid compromise between Senate Republicans-who crafted the initial draft with Democrat input-and Democrats, who delayed passage to ensure it included more of their priorities.

One of the last issues to close concerned $500 billion for guaranteed, subsidized loans to larger industries, including a fight over how generous to be with the airlines.

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