It took five days of marathon wrangling, but the coronavirus stimulus bill is ready for a vote.
Senate leaders and the Trump administration reached agreement early Wednesday on a $2 trillion stimulus package to rescue the economy from the coronavirus assault, setting the stage for swift passage of the massive legislation through both chambers of Congress.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced the breakthrough on the Senate floor around 1:30 a.m., after a long day of talks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other administration officials.
“At last we have a deal,” McConnell said. “After days of intense discussion, the Senate has reached a bipartisan agreement on a historic relief package for this pandemic. … I’m thrilled that we’re finally going to deliver for the country that has been waiting for us to step up.”
“Help is on the way, big help and quick help,” Schumer said. “We’re going to take up and pass this package to care for those who are now caring for us, and help carry millions of Americans through these dark economic times.”
The agreement capped five straight days of intensive negotiations that occasionally descended into partisan warfare as the nation’s economy reeled from the deadly pandemic, with schools and businesses closed, mass layoffs slamming the workforce and tens of thousands falling ill.
The legislation, unprecedented in its size and scope, aims to flood the economy with capital by sending $1,200 checks to many Americans, creating a $367 billion loan program for small businesses and setting up a $500 billion fund for industries, cities and states.
Other provisions include a massive boost to unemployment insurance, $150 billion for state and local stimulus funds, and $130 billion for hospitals. The bill more than doubled in size in just a few days.
As with any bill like this, there are bound to be a few turds in the giant punch bowl; loopholes and pork that got packed into the package, so we’ll see, but at least they did what we pay them to do.