Pelosi Praises Plan as ‘Closer’ to Workers: Congress UpdateMarch 25, 2020
Republicans and Democrats reached a hard-won agreement on the Senates $2 trillion worth of fiscal stimulus to shore up an economy crippled by the coronavirus pandemic. The Senate returns at noon Wednesday, and while a vote is expected, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not yet set a time.
The final version was the product of intense negotiations led by Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Once the measure gets through the Senate, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be under pressure to pass the measure quickly for President Donald Trump to sign into law.
Pelosi Praises Plan as ‘Closer’ to Workers (9:01 a.m.)
The bill “has moved a great deal closer to America’s workers” after negotiations with Democrats, Pelosi said in a statement Wednesday morning.
“House Democrats will now review the final provisions and legislative text of the agreement to determine a course of action,” Pelosi said.
She had said Tuesday that she hoped the House would be able to pass a Senate measure by voice vote without having to bring members to Washington. That is only an option if no House member objects.
Bipartisan Deal Sets Up Stimulus Vote in Senate (8:30 a.m.)
The agreement clears the way for the Senate to vote as soon as Wednesday and send the measure to the House. The Democratic-led House will have to pass the same version before sending it to Trump.
“It is a good bill,” Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat, told CNN Wednesday morning. “This is the art of compromise. This is the art of coming together. America needed huge help quickly and I think we’ve risen to that occasion.”
The plan includes about $500 billion that can be used to back loans and assistance to companies, including $50 billion for loans to U.S. airlines, as well as state and local governments. It also has more than $350 billion to aid small businesses. Then there is $150 billion for hospitals and other health-care providers for equipment and supplies.
For individuals, the package provides direct payments to lower- and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult, as well as $500 for each child. Schumer said that Trump has indicated those checks would go out on April 6.
Unemployment insurance would be extended to four months, the benefits would be bolstered by $600 weekly and eligibility would be expanded to cover more workers.
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. — Laura Litvan
Catch Up on Washington’s Virus Response
- White House Calls For 14-day Quarantine For All Leaving New York
- House Democrats Balk at Rubber Stamping Senate’s Virus Bill
- California Governor Sees Easter Too Soon to Emerge From Shutdown
— With assistance by Laura Litvan
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