After days of negotiations, back-and-forth and scrambling to draft a bill both Republicans and Democrats could agree on, the Senate has reached a deal on a historic, $2 trillion bill to kick-start the economy. The bill passed early Wednesday morning, after drawn-out, tense negotiations.
“At last, we have a deal,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “After days of intense discussions, the Senate has reached a bipartisan agreement on a historic relief package for this pandemic.”
He also highlighted the parallels between the pandemic and the second World War. McConnell noted the “war-time level of investment for our nation.”
When Will the Senate Pass the Bill?
The Senate is to reconvene Wednesday at noon. This is in order to formally pass the bill that both parties have now struck a deal on.
At present, the full details of the bill have yet to be made public. Given that Democrats and Republicans have both agreed to this one, it’s likely some major changes from the Republicans’ earlier vision have been made.
Case in point: the earlier version of the bill failed to pass because Democrats saw it as far too generous to big corporations. It allowed big corporations a “slush fund” of money that would be tracked only by treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Democrats wanted corporations to either:
- Get nothing
- Get money, but it must be tracked and spent on employees, not stock buybacks and executive bonuses
What Is in the Stimulus Bill?
At present, we don’t know the exact contents of the bill. However, it has been made clear that the massive spending bill has allocated $250 billion for direct payments to individual taxpayers. This will bring a massive wave of relief for people scrambling to meet their bills.
Likewise, another $250 billion has been set aside for unemployment and insurance benefits. There is also $350 billion ear-marked for small business loans. The lion’s share of the money, some $500 billion, is to be disbursed in loans to “distressed businesses,” likely including airlines.
Eleventh Hour Legislation Helps Nation Breath Sigh of Relief
While the bill isn’t exactly what Democrats may have wanted, the urgent nature of the buckling economic situation made compromise the best path forward. With millions of Americans impacted by layoffs, the tax help funds in the bill will be critical to helping many stay afloat.
“Does it have everything we need? No. Are some things in there that I would have rather not had? No, of course. But this is the art of compromise,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters, noting, “America needed huge help quickly. And I think we’ve risen to that occasion.”