[UPDATED – HOUSE PASSES BILL] After five days of deliberation, the Senate and White House came together for the American people and reached a deal on the $2 Trillion Stimulus package early Wednesday morning. And it’s going into effect fast.
“Help is on the way, big help and quick help,” Schumer said. “We’re going to take up and pass this package to care for those who are now caring for us, and help carry millions of Americans through these dark economic times.”*
Legislation is due to pass later Wednesday (3/25). It could take longer, however, with the House out of session, and if they require unanimous consent. The bill is getting rushed through. There will be no public hearings or formal review.
Provisions of $2 Trillion Stimulus package
The legislation includes $1,200 checks directly to many adult Americans, and $500 to most children, a $500 billion loan program for small businesses, cities and states. $367 specifically goes to small companies with payroll issues, including six months of loan forbearance for small businesses. $500 billion fund will go to whole industries. *
$150 billion is set for state and local stimulus funds, $130 billion to hospitals, and unemployment insurance will expand its eligibility and provide workers an additional $600 a week for four months, on top of what state unemployment programs pay.
Of the $500 billion loan program, $424 billion would be earmarked for businesses, cities and states, $50 billion to passenger airlines, $8 billion to cargo airlines, and $17 billion to firms marked important to national security.*
Other provisions that were negotiated: increased food stamp benefits in exchange for increase in farm bailout, money for Native American tribes, and non-profit planned parenthood services access to the small business loan program. The resolution is unclear.
Oversight and Implementation
If $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TAARP), implemented during the 2008 financial crisis, is any indicator of how this could all go down, an oversight board will be necessary. During TAARP, investigations exposed fraud within both large and small companies, designed to take taxpayer money through various programs.
For this reason, there will be an oversight board and inspector general to oversee lending decisions.
As Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) said, “The oversight basically is saying that you know you can’t just … exempt everybody and give all your corporate executives, based on the backs of the taxpayers, free carnival.”
The bill must pass the House
With the House out of session, it could be difficult. Members may be required to return to Washington. At least two House members and one senator have tested positive for the coronavirus. Others are quarantined. Others are concerned about returning to the Capitol.
If there’s a strong bipartisan Senate vote, it’s possible to get unanimous consent in the House. Which requires every lawmaker to agree on the $2 Trillion package.
“The easiest way for us to do it is to put aside our concerns for another day and get this done,” said Pelosi Tuesday on CNBC. “My goal always has been to bring this bill to the floor under unanimous consent.”
It’s possible. They just did it with the first two phases: the emergency aid to the health care system, and the bill that provides paid sick leave, unemployment benefits, and free coronavirus testing.
*Source: Washington Post *Featured image source: San Francisco Chronicle