The Trump administration and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced early Wednesday that the White House and Senate had reached a deal for an unprecedented $2 trillion spending package aimed at propping up individuals, businesses and the nation’s health care system amid the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic.
White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland made the announcement at about 1 a.m. ET.
The plunge in activity and warnings of recession or even depression are a brutal reversal for what was until a few weeks ago a humming economy, with record low unemployment.
McConnell said of the legislation that, “in effect, it is a wartime level of investment,” adding that it would come up for a vote later Wednesday. The Senate will reconvene at noon.
The urgently needed $2 trillion pandemic response measure is the largest economic rescue measure in history and is intended as a weekslong or monthslong patch for an economy spiraling into recession.
The announcement capped five days of tense, marathon talks between senators and the White House. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed that the Senate will pass the bill later Wednesday, while House leaders are eyeing an expedited process to get the massive emergency package to President Donald Trump’s desk for signature before the end of the week.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said President Trump would “absolutely” sign the bill if Congress approved it.
Hospitals, which are on the front lines of a wave of new patients that have already strained resources, would get more than $130 billion, while states and local governments would get $150 billion to help cover expenses incurred by the response to the pandemic.
The economic rescue package would give direct payments to most Americans, expand unemployment benefits and provide a $367 billion program for small businesses to keep making payroll while workers are forced to stay home.
Every laid-off or furloughed worker would have their salary “remunerated by the federal government,” Schumer said.
The deal also includes “strict oversight, accountability and transparency” of all loans to “corporate America” enabled by the legislation, he said.
One of the last issues to close concerned $500 billion for guaranteed, subsidized loans to larger industries, including a fight over how generous to be with the airlines. Hospitals would get significant help as well.
“After days of intense discussions, the Senate has reached a bipartisan agreement on a historic relief package for this pandemic,” said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., a key negotiator. “It will rush new resources onto the front lines of our nation’s health care fight. And it will inject trillions of dollars of cash into the economy as fast as possible to help Americans workers, families, small businesses and industries make it through this disruption and emerge on the other side ready to soar.”
However, passage of the bill into law isn’t without its challenges. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi needs to get the bill passed unanimously by the 435 representatives, which may present a hurdle, according to Politico.
U.S. stock-index futures were trading lower Wednesday morning, relinquishing early gains seen when lawmakers reached an agreement on the roughly $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package.
In U.S. economics reports, a reading of long-lasting, or durable, goods will be released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, a report on house prices from the FHFA will hit at 9 a.m., and a report on business uncertainty and expectations may be watched for clues on economic sentiment at 11 a.m. amid the coronavirus outbreak.