The White House and Senate leaders reached a deal in early Wednesday on a massive $2 trillion
relief bill — said to be the largest rescue package in American history — to combat the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
“At last we have a deal,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said after 1:30 a.m. ET from the floor of the Senate.
“In effect, this is a war-time level of investment into our nation,” said McConnell, who promised the bill would rush financial assistance to Americans through direct checks to households, enhanced unemployment insurance, hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency loans to small businesses, and more resources for hospitals and medical equipment.
The Senate had yet to release the final terms of the deal. An earlier draft seen Tuesday would provide cash payments of up to $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for married couples and $500 per child, reduced if an individual makes more than $75,000 or a couple makes more than $150,000.
The draft language also stipulated a $350 billion fund for small businesses to mitigate layoffs and support payroll.
″After five days of arduous negotiations, after sleep-deprived nights and marathon negotiating sessions, we have a bipartisan agreement on the largest rescue package in American history,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
He touted “unemployment compensation on steroids,” which would cover every American for four months, as the U.S. braces for historic layoffs and furloughs.
He promised oversight on the loans the U.S. offers businesses, saying “every loan document will be made public very quickly” to make sure those loans are fair. He also said an inspector general and an oversight board would oversee those loans, after earlier criticism from Democrats that a proposed $500 billion fund for businesses left too much discretion to the Treasury.
The deal will allocate $150 billion to states and localities battling the pandemic, and starved of now-delayed tax revenue, he said.
McConnell said the Senate will vote and pass the legislation later Wednesday.
Any deal the GOP-controlled Senate comes to ultimately needs to be passed by the Democratic-led House. It is possible House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who has been talking with Schumer, could push for more changes to the Senate bill before giving it the go-ahead.
Pelosi said Tuesday morning if the parties can compromise and have “unanimous consent” the bill can move quickly through the House.
“If we don’t have unanimous consent,” she cautioned, “my two options with my members is: we can call them back to vote to amend this bill, or to pass our own bill and then go to conference with that.”
President Donald Trump voiced optimism about the package Tuesday, telling reporters at a briefing of the coronavirus task force “we are working to pass the biggest and boldest financial relief package in American history.”
Stock futures were positive in early Wednesday morning trading, following Tuesday’s historic rally.