In the early hours of Wednesday, Senate Democrats and Republicans struck an agreement with the White House on a coronavirus rescue package worth more than $2 trillion.
“At last we have a deal,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said early Wednesday on the chamber’s floor. “I’m thrilled that we’re finally going to deliver to the country.”
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who engaged in marathon negotiations with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, called it an “outstanding agreement.”
The New York Times reports the measure is the biggest stimulus package in American history. “Its cost amounts to several hundreds of billions of dollars more than the entire United States federal budget for a year, and administration officials said they hoped that its effect on a battered economy would be exponentially greater, as much as $4 trillion.“
According to the Times:
“In the final measure, lawmakers agreed to a significant expansion of unemployment benefits that would extend unemployment insurance by 13 weeks and include a four-month enhancement of benefits, officials familiar with the unfinished agreement said. Democrats said that it would allow workers to maintain their full salaries if forced out of work as a result of the pandemic.
:In the interim, lawmakers also agreed to provide $1,200 in direct payments that would apply equally to workers with incomes up to $75,000 per year before phasing out and ending altogether for those earning more than $99,000. Families would receive an additional $500 per child.“
The holdup was over the $500 billion in bailouts to corporations. According to Bloomberg:
“Democrats demanded and won a series of restraints on corporations that would benefit from loans or investments from the Treasury Department, as well as an oversight mechanism for who gets money.
“Any company receiving a government loan would be subject to a ban on stock buybacks through the term of the loan plus one additional year. They also would have to limit executive bonuses and take steps to protect workers. The Treasury Department would have to disclose the terms of loans or other aid to companies and a new Treasury inspector general would oversee the lending program.“
Also, Democrats won language that would forbid anyone in the Trump family from securing loans in the package from Treasury.