The largest emergency aid package in history reached a tentative agreement on Wednesday between Senate and White House leaders, who are eager to put into action a law that would support American citizens and businesses affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. The bill would be the third legislative response to COVID-19, and the largest ever, which started with a $1 trillon price tag and ballooned to $2 trillion as Senate and White House leadership pounded out details over a marathon session.
Specific details have not yet been released, but the package delivers direct payments to individual and families, small business loans, unemployment insurance benefits, and loans to companies in distressed industries such as the airline and hospitality industries. The long session to come to an agreement over the bill was filled with strenuous debate over various issues, such as excluding businesses tied to members of Congress or the White House from federal aid, ensuring that unemployment benefits do not exceed the amount of compensation that employee make while at work, and decisions about how to structure loans to large corporations affected by the virus such as airlines.
The bill would provide billions of dollars to hospitals that have found themselves strapped for cash and filled to capacity treating the sick afflicted by the virus in addition to their existing non-coronavirus workload. After the Senate passes the bill, it will be passed to the House, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi has expressed optimism that the law will help distressed Americans, but came short of fully endorsing the measure.
President Trump, who has been hopeful to return the nation to normal business by Easter, is eager to get a stimulus bill in motion and reinvigorate an economy that has been pummeled by stay-at-home orders, decline in investor confidence, and consumer malaise.