Who gets what from the $2 trillion United States virus aid package

Mitch McConnell

Sens. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Tim Scott of South Carolina, Rick Scott of Florida and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina argued that, as written, the bolstered unemployment program could provide more money than some workers earn in their paychecks. "I'm thrilled that we're finally going to deliver to the country".

Key elements of the proposal are $250 billion set aside for direct payments to individuals and families, $350 billion in small business loans, $250 billion in unemployment insurance benefits and $500 billion in loans for distressed companies.

"Here we are in the midst of the worst economic downturn perhaps since the Great Depression, tens of millions of people are anxious to death about how they're going to feed their families, pay their rent, prevent a foreclosure", Sanders added.

Details of the final package were negotiated Tuesday between Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of NY and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and the agreement was announced Wednesday morning.

Democrats had been demanding transparency on the loans and Mr Schumer held up the Bill until Republicans changed the text, the aide said.

The bill also calls for the government sending $1,200 checks to individuals who make less than $75,000 and $2,400 for couples making less than $150,000.

After two consecutive days of high-profile setbacks - with Senate Democrats blocking procedural votes on Sunday and Monday over opposition to a bill initially crafted by Senate Republicans - a deal appeared to be imminent by Tuesday morning, but was ultimately not announced until the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Three Republican senators are demanding an immediate fix to a drafting error in the coronavirus stimulus package that they say encourages layoffs and risks life-threatening consequences to critical industries.

The deal includes a $150 billion boost in hospital funding and a $150 billion fund for state and local governments, both pushed for by Democrats. Bernie Sanders later released a statement saying that unless the senators drop their "anti-worker objections", he is prepared to block the legislation in order to impose "strong conditions on the $500 billion corporate welfare fund". Companies would also be able to defer payment of the 6.2% Social Security payroll tax.

An inspector general and a congressional panel would monitor where the money goes and on what terms to prevent unfair practices; the package proposes that every loan document be made public. The original bill left it to the Treasury Department to determine which businesses get loans and allowed it to wait up to six months to disclose where the money went.

Wall Street stocks closed mixed Wednesday as the markets awaited a vote on the rescue package, the third of its kind in the past month, but by far the largest. "This must be fixed immediately, either by amending the Senate deal to increase SNAP and/or immediately passing a stand-alone bill that does so". The World Health Organization said the USA has the potential to become the new epicenter of the global pandemic as the number of known infections soars.

An initial $8 billion plan passed by Congress March 5 is funding emergency health care needs stemming from the coronavirus, and a second plan enacted last week will provide many Americans with paid sick leave, food assistance and free coronavirus testing. It also will send tens of billions in fresh aid to states.



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