$2 Trillion Stimulus Deal Explained: Average Americans Likely to Get $1,200 Payment

Joanna Estrada
March 26, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump, with Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General Bill Barr, leads the daily coronavirus response briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 23, 2020. But this latest deal eclipses the earlier packages in scope and spending.

Earlier in the day, McConnell touted the bipartisan deal reached overnight to provide cash payments to Americans, help to struggling small businesses and more resources to state and local governments, as well as to hospitals.

For individuals the package provides direct payments to lower- and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult, as well as $500 for each child.

The precise details of the fiscal package are yet to be disclosed, though it is expected to include around $350 billion in small business loans and a further $500 billion for distressed companies, such as airlines.

Unemployment: The bill sets aside $260 billion to expand unemployment payments to a broader group of workers affected by the pandemic, add 13 weeks of coverage for the unemployed, and boost weekly payments by up to $600.

Among them are a "better definition of who qualifies for family and medical leave", greater OSHA protection for workers, a proposal for pensions that Pelosi said President Trump approved and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said could be in the next bill, a 15 percent increase in food stamps, and additional funds for state and local governments. Then there is $150 billion for hospitals and other health-care providers for equipment and supplies.

Interestingly, the bill has provisions that would block Trump and his family members, as well as other top government officials and members of Congress, from accessing loans or investments from Treasury programmes in the stimulus package.

Democrats also rejected the $3 billion sought by the Trump administration to buy oil to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

The bill includes $500 billion for large corporations as the US grapples with a major economic freefall putting it on the verge of a full-blown recession as well as a $367 billion loan program for small businesses and $150 billion for assistance to state and local governments.

The plan also includes several Democratic oversight initiatives.

"This bill pays you more not to work than if you were working", GOP Sen.

"Republican critics secured a Wednesday evening vote on an amendment to cap unemployment benefits at 100% of the wages workers received while employed, but the amendment did not pass".

Together with Fed intervention, the proposed legislation amounted to a $6 trillion stimulus, according to White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, or about 30 per cent of annual GDP. "They're just not going to be able to meet the needs", Pelosi said.

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. "Our next bill will lean toward recovery, how we can create good-paying jobs as we go forward, perhaps building the infrastructure of America".

A voice vote is procedural move that would avoid a recorded roll call vote, which would have forced members now dispersed throughout the country to travel back to Washington to get the stimulus across the finish line. But any individual member can block such a move, which would make passage more hard.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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