White House, Senate agree on $2tr rescue plan

Alonzo Simpson
March 26, 2020

Senate leaders and the Trump administration agreed to a historic bill to alleviate the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic by flooding the economy with a 13-digit sum of money.

This package will hopefully serve to remind Donald Trump that he will not be able to enrich himself off the crisis he had a hand in causing, and will also show that it was Congress, not the President, that acted to actually help people in the time of need. "I will sign it immediately", Trump told reporters on Wednesday.

Wall Street stocks closed mixed as the markets awaited a vote on the $2 trillion package hammered out by congressional leaders to boost the USA economy.

The package is meant to flood the economy with cash in a bid to stem the impact of an intensifying epidemic that has killed more than 900 people in the United States and infected at least 60,000. NY accounts for roughly half of all USA coronavirus cases.

Five days of arduous talks produced the bill, creating tensions among Congress' top leaders, who each took care to tend to party politics as they maneuvered and battled over crafting the legislation. Weekly benefits will rise by $600 as well and more types of workers will be covered under the unemployment insurance scheme.

There had been criticism of the bill from the most progressive wing of the Democratic-led House.

Ardent liberals like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were restless as well, but top Washington Democrats assured them that a additional coronavirus legislation will follow this spring and signalled that delaying the pending measure would be foolish. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives, which on Friday will vote by voice to allow the representatives to vote from their respective quarantines amid limited flights and stay-home orders issued in several states. Bringing more than 400 lawmakers from as far away as Hawaii and Alaska would be hard because a few are in self-quarantine and several states have issued stay-at-home orders.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told colleagues the Senate compromise "does not go as far" as she would like towards Democratic goals, and that her caucus was reviewing the final provisions to determine a path forward.

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Sherrod Brown called the bill "a much better deal for workers and their families and communities" than a version he opposed on Monday, which he dismissed as a "Wall Street giveaway" that didn't adequately help hospitals or do enough for workers. That package, estimated to cost more than $100 billion, provided for new paid sick leave benefits and funds to expedite access to coronavirus testing.

Pelosi expressed sympathy, but wanted the rescue package to move on. "We (Congress) do have to do more, but that would be no reason to stop this step that we are taking", Pelosi said on CNN, adding that she hoped the Federal Reserve would do more for states.

If approved by the House of Representatives as written, it would represent the largest economic stimulus package in USA history.

Underscoring the effort's sheer magnitude, the bill finances a response with a price tag that equals half the size of the entire $4 trillion annual federal budget.

Investors were cheered by the news of the deal.

'To all Americans I say: Help is on the way, big help and quick help, ' said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer late Tuesday night.

The massive legislation passed on a 96-0 vote after days of intense negotiations between Senate Republicans and Democrats, who demanded changes to the Bill introduced last week by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Hours before the vote, Sen.

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