The White House and Senate reached an agreement shortly after midnight on Wednesday on a record $2 trillion coronavirus relief package for workers and businesses.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are done,” White House Legislative Affairs Director Eric Ueland told reporters. “We have a deal.”
According to Fox News, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, (D-N.Y.), agreed with the final version saying it amounts to “unemployment compensation on steroids,” and added every American who is laid off will have their missed salary remunerated. That provision will enable companies to stay afloat and immediately bring back those employees when things are safe.
In addition to giving direct payments to most Americans, the bill will expand unemployment benefits and provide a $367 billion program for small businesses to keep making payroll while workers are forced to stay home. Hospitals across the country will also benefit from the bill.
The coronavirus outbreak has already resulted in a significant number of layoffs and up to 14 million could be unemployed by the time the outbreak subsides.
“After days of intense discussions, the Senate has reached a bipartisan agreement on a historic relief package for this pandemic,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-KY) told reporters early Wednesday. “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 American workers, families, small businesses and industries make it through this disruption and emerge on the other side ready to soar.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday morning that House Democrats will review the final provisions and legislative text to determine a course of action.
“This bipartisan legislation takes us a long way down the road in meeting the needs of the American people,” she wrote in a statement. “While the compromise does not go as far as our Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act, thanks to the unity and insistence of Senate and House Democrats, the bill has moved a great deal closer to America’s workers.”
There is some opposition, however. Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI) who recently left the Republican Party, signaled that he might essentially delay consideration of the bill in the House.
“This bipartisan deal is a raw deal for the people,” Amash tweeted Wednesday morning. “It does far too little for those who need the most help, while providing hundreds of billions in corporate welfare, massively growing government, inhibiting economic adaptation, and widening the gap between the rich and the poor.”
Since the coronavirus outbreak hit U.S. shores in February, more than 55,000 people have been infected and almost 800 have died.