White House, Senate reach late-night deal on massive $2T coronavirus stimulus package
The White House and Senate leaders reached a breakthrough deal shortly after midnight Wednesday on a massive and historic $2 trillion coronavirus relief package for workers and businesses, Fox News has confirmed, capping off days of heated negotiations that had nearly been derailed by last-minute demands from House Democrats.
“Ladies and gentleman, we are done," White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland announced as he left the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., near midnight. "We have a deal."
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the bill amounts to “unemployment compensation on steroids," and that every American laid off will have their missed salary remunerated. This provision will enable companies to stay afloat and immediately bring back those employees when things are safe, Schumer said.
McConnell said the Senate will meet at 12:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, but did not set a time for a vote. By rule, the procedural vote to begin debate on the coronavirus package would happen at 1 p.m. ET, unless the Senate scraps that vote.
Ueland told reporters that "much of the work on bill text has been completed and I’m hopeful over the next few hours we’ll finish what's left and we will circulate it early in the morning.” Concerning any outstanding issues, he said "we have either clear, explicit legislative text, reflecting all parties, or we know exactly where we're going to land without a legislative text, as we continue to finish.”
The unprecedented 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.
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