US Senate approves historic $ 2 trillion rescue plan to respond to economic and health crisis caused by coronavirus pandemics, puts pressure on Democratic-led House to pass bill quickly and sends it to President Donald Trump for signature ‘yo.
The massive legislation passed on a 96-0 vote following days of intense negotiations between the Republican and Democratic senates, who called for changes to the bill introduced last week by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The package includes an unprecedented injection of loans, tax breaks and direct payments for large corporations and individual taxpayers to help the American economy get through a sudden shutdown when people avoid close social and business interactions kept from spreading the coronavirus. More than 68,000 people in the United States have been infected with the deadly respiratory disease and some economists warn that unemployment could hit 30%.
The House was scheduled to vote on the legislation Friday. Trump urged Congress to act “without delay,” saying he would sign the legislation immediately.
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The package provides for about $ 500 billion in loans and assistance to major companies, including struggling airlines, as well as states and cities. There is a separate pot of about $ 350 billion for small businesses. For individuals the package provides direct payment of lower- and middle-income Americans $ 1,200 per adult, and $ 500 per child. Unemployment insurance would vastly expand. There is also money for hospitals, some of which are on the verge of being overwhelmed.
The size of the stimulus package is unprecedented, dwarfing the roughly $ 800 billion Obama stimulus that happened five months after the 2008 financial crash. Along with Federal Reserve shares, the legislation amounts to a $ 6 trillion stimulus, according to White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, or about 30% of annual GDP.
But it may not be enough to prevent a large short-term economy and a dramatic increase in unemployment. Economists and lawmakers say they expect more will need stimulus. Congress is already discussing a next round.
“I’ve never seen Congress move so fast to do something so big. Unfortunately, the problem can be bigger and faster,” said Jason Furman, a member of Barack Obama’s economic team during the 2008 recession.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised the deal, which was worked primarily by Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over several days of marathon negotiations.
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced late Wednesday that the House will try to pass the Coronavirus bills on Friday in a voice vote, in a process that does not require all members to return to Washington. GOP House leaders say they support this strategy as well.
“In order to protect the safety of Members and staff and to prevent further spread of COVID-19 in Member travel, the Republican Leader and I hope the House votes on the final passage will be done by voice vote,” Hoyer wrote in a letter . colleagues.
However, any House member can ask for a registered, roll-vote, that has the potential to drag out the process.
The outbreak has touched directly on Congress, where three lawmakers have reported positive tests for the coronavirus and several others in self-quarantine.
Passages in the Senate were delayed for hours on Wednesday by objections from four GOP senators over expanded unemployment benefits for low-wage workers.
Expectations in a Senate vote helped propel the S&P 500 Index to its biggest two-day advance since November 2008. But action came out of the late afternoon as Republican senators raised objections with independent Senator Bernie Sanders faced with a threat. uphold the legislation.
The Senate blocked an amendment to amend the unemployment benefit provision provided by Nebraska Republican Senator Ben Sasse before moving to pass the overall bill.
Another delay happened behind the scenes. According to a Democratic aide, Republicans have dropped out of an agreed draft on language that requires the Treasury and Federal Reserve to publish every seven days that companies and entities get financing from loans from the $ 500 billion bailout fund.
Democrats demanded transparency about the loans and Schumer held the bill until Republicans changed the text, the aide said.