Senate and White House negotiators reached an agreement early Wednesday morning on a $2 trillion stimulus package to help businesses and families affected by the Chineses coronavirus epidemic and to bolster the economy. The agreement clears the way for the package to sail through both houses of Congress on its way to President Trump. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told reporters that Trump will sign the bill as soon as it reaches his desk.“Ladies and gentlemen, we are done. We have a deal,” Eric Ueland, the White House legislative affairs director, announced at around 1 a.m., after five days of tense negotiations between leaders of the two parties and the White House.Not long after, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) took to the Senate floor to announce they had reached an agreement after a long day of negotiations with Mnuchin, Ueland, and others.
“It’s good news for the doctors and nurses around the country who are waiting for more masks and more funding. It’s good news for families across America. At last, we have a deal,” McConnell announced. “After days of intense discussion the Senate has reached a bipartisan agreement on a historic relief package for this pandemic.”
“It will rush new resources onto the front lines of this healthcare fight and it will inject trillions of dollars of cash into the economy as fast as possible to help American families, workers, small businesses, and industries and make it through this disruption and emerge ready to soar,” he added.
“I”m thrilled that we’re finally going to deliver for the country, which has been waiting for us to step up,” McConnell continued. “I’m relieved my Democratic colleagues are ready to take yes for an answer. This has been a long week for the Senate, but it’s been a much longer week for the hundreds of millions of Americans who find themselves in this strange new reality, where every morning brings new worries about their health, about their loved ones, about whether their job or small business will still exist at this time next week.” He said he expects the Senate to pass the legislation later today.
“After five days of arduous negotiations, after sleep-deprived nights and marathon negotiating sessions, we have a bipartisan agreement on the largest rescue package in American history,” Schumer said. “This is not a moment of celebration, but one of necessity. The anguish of the American people wondering about the future of their health, the health of their loved ones, and the economy necessitated us to do all we can to help them and help our country.”
Schumer said the agreement “reflects those Democratic priorities and we are proud that they are now part of this legislation.”
Schumer lauded his colleagues, saying that because both Republicans and Democrats “were willing to do the serious and hard work,” the bill is “much improved.” He outlined four “pillars” of the bill:
- A Marshall Plan for hospitals and medical needs
- Rescuing American workers who are affected by the epidemic
- Strict oversight, transparency, and accountability of all loans made to corporate America
- Real resources for state and local governments
“Help is on the way. Big help and quick help. We’re going to pass this package to care for those who are now caring for us and help carry millions of Americans through these dark economic times,” Schumer concluded.
The bill reportedly includes
- $500 billion in loans to major corporations adversely affected by the crisis
- $367 billion small business loans
- $250 billion unemployment ins benefits
- $250 billion in payments to families
- $100 billion for hospitals
Schumer promised that “every American laid off will get help from the government.”
Americans making under $75,000 will reportedly receive a one-time check of $1,200.
This the second in what is likely to be a series of bills aimed at helping Americans and stimulating the economy. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) suggested earlier this week that there may be five packages by the time they’re finished.
White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said that the multi-phase stimulus could top and unprecedented $6 trillion.
“The total package here comes to roughly $6 trillion: $2 trillion direct assistance, roughly $4 trillion in federal reserve lending power,” Kudlow said. “Again, it will be the largest main street financial package in the history of the United States.”
Bo Snerdly on Tuesday night asked the question many of the rest of us are asking:
The answer, of course, is that no one knows. Our children and grandchildren, no doubt, but likely many future generations as well. Those of us who were around during the Tea Party glory days remember well the U.S. Debt Clock. No one talks about it anymore (why is that… have we given up?) but it’s worth revisiting so we can put the $2 trillion package in perspective:
Two trillion seems like a drop in the bucket compared to the $23 trillion national debt, but when you consider that the federal budget is $4.6 trillion and tax revenues are only $3.4 trillion, you can see that we have a very serious math problem. “Serious” doesn’t even begin to describe the enormity of the profligate spending that has grown year by year under both Republican and Democrat leadership. It is now set to explode exponentially in the hopes that the massive infusion of cash into the economy will keep us from falling into a recession —or worse, another Great Depression.
We’ll have to wait until later today to find out what’s in the bill, but the numbers listed above only add up to $1.46 trillion. How many concessions did McConnell have to give Schumer to get him to sign on the dotted line? We can’t say at this point, but one thing is almost certain: bills rushed through quickly and under the cover of darkness almost always end up being loaded with goodies for lobbyists, and pet projects like funding the Green New Deal and Planned Parenthood, none of which have anything to do with the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic but both of which were insisted upon by Democrats. That said…
It appears that after a week of theatrics and tantrums by Democrats, including Schumer, that Cocaine Mitch was able to hold the line and limit the bill (mostly?) to legitimate pandemic relief efforts. Democrats delayed aid to hurting families for nothing. Let’s hope they pay the price for their cynical attempted power-grab in November.