Just after midnight last night, the Senate and House came to an agreement on a coronavirus relief bill providing more than $2 Trillion in benefits for workers and businesses.
The bill was almost derailed by recent demands by the Democrats to pork up the bill with liberal ideological measures that had nothing to do with coronavirus relief, like improving the carbon footprint of the airlines and tax credits for windmills.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are done,” said Eric Ueland as he left the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “We have a deal.” He later said, “much of the work on bill text has been completed, and I’m hopeful over the next few hours we’ll finish what’s left and we will circulate it early in the morning.”
“This is a very important bipartisan piece of legislation that is going to be very important to help American workers, American business and people across America,” said Mnuchin to reporters early Wednesday. “We couldn’t be more pleased.”
The bill includes:
Direct payments to Americans.
- Expanded unemployment benefits, increase current unemployment assistance by $600 a week for four months.
- $367 million program to for small business to keep making payroll.
- $500 million for guaranteed, subsidized loans to larger industries, including airlines.
- 100 billion for “front line” hospitals and treatment centers.
- 150 billion for State and Local Governments
- $1,200 to Americans who make up to $75,000. Individuals with no or little tax liability would receive the same amount.
- $30 billion in emergency education funding
- $25 billion in direct financial aid to struggling airlines
- $4 billion for air cargo carriers
“Democrats are finally taking ‘yes’ for an answer,” McConnell said early Wednesday morning. “Help is on the way.”
President Trump says he wants to reopen the country, setting Easter as the goal.
“I give it two weeks,” Trump said last night in the Fox News town hall. “I guess by Monday or Tuesday, it’s about two weeks. We will assess at that time and give it more time if we need a little more time. We have to open this country up.”
Previously passed were $8.3 billion to fund vaccine development and more than $100 Billion to expand paid leave.