Republicans and Democrats have reached a bipartisan agreement in the Senate and with the White House on an estimated $2 trillion stimulus package aimed at thwarting the economic impact from the coronavirus pandemic, according to news reports.
"We are done," White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland said a little before 1 a.m. on Wednesday, after leaving the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., according to CNN. "We have a deal."
The stimulus proposal had failed to pass a Sunday procedural vote, which went along party lines. That proposal, estimated to have been valued at around $1 trillion, met resistance from Democrats who slammed it as a “secretive slush fund” for corporations at the cost of workers and small businesses.
McConnell said the $2 trillion deal agreed upon early Wednesday morning was "a war-time level of investment for our nation,” CNN writes. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the deal was "the largest rescue package in American history," according to the TV news channel’s website.
The Senate is expected to re-convene at noon and to pass the proposal later today, although no exact time has been set for the vote, CNN writes.
While full details of the stimulus package are still emerging, it includes $250 billion in direct payments to individuals, $130 billion in funding for hospitals impacted by the response to the coronavirus, $150 billion for state and local governments, $350 billion in loans to small businesses, $250 billion in unemployment insurance benefits and $500 billion in loans for “distressed companies,” CNN reports.
The previous $1 trillion proposal, rejected by the Democrats on Sunday, also had a $500 billion fund for distressed companies, including $58 billion for airlines.
During the debate over the $2 trillion package, the Trump administration agreed to set up an oversight board as well as establish an inspector general position to oversee how the money slated for distressed companies is spent, according to CNN. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tells the news channel that "many of the provisions in there have been greatly improved because of negotiation.” Schumer, meanwhile, said the package will have "unemployment insurance on steroids,” according to CNN.
The House — where several members have tested positive for the coronavirus — may pass the package through unanimous consent instead of a full vote, Pelosi suggested on Tuesday, according to the news channel.
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