Who gets what from the $2 trillion U.S. virus aid package

Henrietta Strickland
March 26, 2020

The Trump administration struck a deal with Senate Democrats and Republicans on an historic rescue package that tees up more than $2 trillion in spending and tax breaks to bolster the hobbled USA economy and fund a nationwide effort to stem the coronavirus.

The $2-trillion price tag is equal to more than half of the $3.5 trillion the federal government expects to collect in taxes this year, and is 9% of the nation's gross domestic product.

'House Democrats will now review the final provisions and legislative text of the agreement to determine a course of action, ' she said in a statement Wednesday morning.

The Senate was expected to approve the measure Wednesday evening. The House needs to pass the bill before it can reach President Donald Trump's desk.

"This isn't even a stimulus package", he said.

It dwarfs the bailouts of 2008, when a worldwide financial crisis sent the USA economy into a tailspin.

The package includes an unprecedented injection of loans, tax breaks and direct payments for major corporations and individual taxpayers to help the United States economy get through an abrupt shutdown as people avoid social interaction and businesses close to keep from spreading the coronavirus.

- The bill includes more than $350 billion in loans for small businesses with a provision that the loan will be forgiven if employers keeps workers on the payroll.

The Senate, where Republicans have a narrow majority, is scheduled to have a vote on the proposal in the afternoon; the bill is likely to pass there, but the timeframe is not clear for a vote in the lower chamber, which is now on recess due to the coronavirus. House members are scattered around the country and the timetable for votes in that chamber was unclear.

Pelosi had suggested on Tuesday that she was hoping to avoid bringing the full House back to Washington to vote on the package, seeking to pass it through unanimous consent instead. A House vote is unlikely before Thursday or perhaps Friday.

Despite the days of political tug-of-war over the legislation, it was passed unanimously in the end, 96-0, with no senator voting in the negative. But if some wanted to object in person, they could.

"There's a lot of good in this bill", Graham said.

However, any House member could demand a recorded, roll-call vote, which has potential to drag out the process.

Pelosi voiced willingness Wednesday to have a voice vote.

The bill now goes to the Democrat-controlled lower house for approval.

Senate Democrats had pushed for more accountability regarding the bill's $500 billion fund earmarked for corporations that have been hit hard by the coronavirus. He said it would bolster the unemployment insurance system so states can match the missing salary of low-income workers, and give others enough to "be able to put food on the table, maybe make the rent, maybe make the vehicle payment during this period". Individuals making $99,000 or above or married couples making $198,000 or more would receive no check. The sprawling, 500-page measure is the third coronavirus response bill produced by Congress and by far the largest, building on earlier efforts focused on vaccines and emergency response, sick and family medical leave for workers, and food aid.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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