By Robin Bravender
WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate leaders announced a compromise with the White House on a massive $2 trillion spending package that would send checks to Americans and provide aid to small businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The deal was announced early Wednesday morning after days of heated negotiations on Capitol Hill.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he expects the Senate to pass the legislation later on Wednesday.
“We have a bipartisan agreement on the largest rescue package in American history. This is not a moment of celebration, but one of necessity,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the Senate floor.
For the men and women across America who woke up today without a job to go to, when this pandemic finally passes, it would be a good idea that the companies that employ them actually still exist. We've crafted a bipartisan solution to ensure that they do. pic.twitter.com/RNpoLd8frL
— Senator Pat Toomey (@SenToomey) March 23, 2020
The legislation would send checks of $1,200 to many Americans, create a $367 billion loan program to aid small businesses and fund a $500 billion lending program for industries, cities and states, the Washington Post reported.
The legislation would also ensure that these taxpayer-funded loans can’t be made to firms owned by President Donald Trump, other White House officials, or members of Congress, the Post reported. Another $150 billion would be included for state and local stimulus funds and $130 billion would go to hospitals.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Wednesday morning that the bipartisan compromise marked an improvement over a previous proposal from Senate Republicans. It “does not go as far” as the plan House Democrats had offered, but “the bill has moved a great deal closer to America’s workers,” she said.
“House Democrats will now review the final provisions and legislative text of the agreement to determine a course of action.”