UNITED STATES─Members of Congress reached a deal on Wednesday, March 25, for a $2 trillion stimulus package bill to provide funds to Americans and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement was made on the Senate floor by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles Schumer after negotiating with U.S. Secretary of Treasurer Steven Mnuchin.
The passage includes sending payment of $1,200 to many Americans with an income cap in place. Those with children will receive an additional $500 per child. The bill also includes a $350 billion loan program for small businesses and a $500 billion program for cities, states and other industries. In addition, $250 billion has been expanded to unemployment aid, over $100 billion for hospitals, $150 billion for state and local governments, $50 billion for health care equipment for health care workers, testing equipment and supplies and $50 billion in loans for the airline industry. A provision in the bill prohibits President Trump or any members of Congress from getting loans for their businesses.
Unemployment insurance will be extended for four months providing an additional $600 weekly for those workers who are eligible. Tax credits will be offered for businesses that retain their employees during the crisis. Companies who are offered loans are not allowed to purchase the buyback of stocks during the term of the loan plus an additional year.
Senator Schumer tweeted on Wednesday morning: “We fought to dramatically expand unemployment insurance to cover so many more Americans in this crisis. We fought to ensure people & workers are protected whether they work for businesses small, medium, large, whether they’re self-employed or gig workers.”
Senator McConnell tweeted: “At last, we have a deal. After days of intense discussions, the Senate has reached a bipartisan agreement on a historic relief package for this pandemic. We’re going to pass this legislation later today.”
The stock market rose to 2100 points by the end of business day on Tuesday in anticipation of a bill being reached between members of Congress. U.S. senators will vote on the bill Wednesday, and if it passes it will then move to the House of Representatives. If passed in the House, the bill will then move to President Trump’s desk, where he is expected to sign off on the bill.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement on Wednesday:
“This bipartisan legislation takes us a long way down the road in meeting the needs of the American people. House Democrats will now review the final provisions and legislative text of the agreement to determine a course of action.”
President Trump announced that he would like people to return back to work by Easter, which is Sunday, April 12. States including California, New York, Ohio, Michigan, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Wisconsin and West Virginia, have implement ‘shelter in place’ or stay at home orders for residents to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
More than 55,000 cases of the coronavirus have been reported in the United States, with more than 800 people dying as a result of contracting the virus.