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White House, Senate reach historic $2-trillion stimulus deal amid growing coronavirus fears

White House and Senate leaders struck a major deal early Wednesday morning over a $2-trillion package to provide a jolt to an economy struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic, capping days of marathon negotiations that produced one of the most expensive and far-reaching measures in the history of Congress.

Posted: Mar 25, 2020 9:47 AM
Updated: Mar 25, 2020 10:37 AM


White House and Senate leaders struck a major deal early Wednesday morning over a $2-trillion package to provide a jolt to an economy struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic, capping days of marathon negotiations that produced one of the most expensive and far-reaching measures in the history of Congress.

"Ladies and gentleman, we are done," White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland said right before 1 a.m. after leaving Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office following negotiations that have gone around the clock since last Friday. "We have a deal."

McConnell was preparing to take to the floor to announce that a deal had been reached on the proposal.

The full details have yet to be released. But over the last 24 hours, the elements of the proposal have come into sharper focus, with $250 billion set aside for direct payments to individuals and families, $350 billion in small business loans, $250 billion in unemployment insurance benefits and $500 billion in loans for distressed companies.

The package, if it passes Congress, would be the most significant legislative action taken to address the rapidly intensifying coronavirus crisis, which is overwhelming hospitals and grinding much of the economy to a halt.

The plan will deliver a massive infusion of financial aid into a struggling economy hard hit by job loss, with provisions to help impacted American workers and families as well as small businesses and major industries including airlines.

Larry Kudlow, President Donald Trump's chief economic adviser, called the package "the single largest main street assistance program in the history of the United States" at a White House briefing on Tuesday.

"This legislation is urgently needed to bolster the economy, provide cash injections and liquidity and stabilize financial markets to get us through a difficult and challenging period in the economy facing us right now," Kudlow said.

After two consecutive days of high-profile setbacks -- with Senate Democrats blocking procedural votes on Sunday and Monday over opposition to a bill initially crafted by Senate Republicans -- a deal appeared to be imminent by Tuesday morning.

Top negotiators signaled that many of the issues had been resolved and suggested there could be action on a package later in the day.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer optimistically announced at one point that the Senate was at the two-yard line. But by Tuesday evening, no legislative text had been made public as negotiators continued their work.

Asked on Tuesday evening why negotiators appeared to be having such a hard time closing out the deal, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who has served as a point person for the administration in the talks, responded, "Who says we are having a hard time? It's just a complicated deal. We go through a lot of language."

"We are getting there," he responded.

Democrats had argued they wanted to see more safeguards for American workers in the deal and oversight for how funding would be doled out. Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi both signaled on Tuesday that they had won concessions in the emerging deal to that end.

Pelosi said in an interview with CNN's Dana Bash on Tuesday that "many of the provisions in there have been greatly improved because of negotiation," while Schumer said the legislation will have "unemployment insurance on steroids."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised the emerging deal as a win for Republicans as well, saying, "We are close to a bill that takes our bold Republican framework, integrates further ideas from both parties and delivers huge progress."

Once a deal is released, the next question will be how quickly it can be approved by both chambers -- a challenge made more daunting by the fact that Congress is now operating in a scenario where several of its members have tested positive for coronavirus while many more have self-quarantined after contact with infected individuals.

Pelosi suggested on Tuesday that she is hoping to avoid bringing the full House back to Washington to vote on the package, seeking to pass it through unanimous consent instead. But any individual member can block such a move, creating uncertainty over whether that will be feasible.

Another option may be for the House to approve the package by voice vote as opposed to holding a recorded roll call vote.

House Republicans are falling in line behind the Senate stimulus plan and are willing to allow quick passage of the plan, according to a source on the GOP whip team.

After conferring with the various factions of the House GOP Conference, the source said that it is a "possible outcome" for the House to voice vote the package when the chamber eventually considers it.

Pelosi has called for the bill to be approved by unanimous consent, but the GOP source said that "it's a very real possibility" that a member would object, preventing that from happening.

Pelosi is also open to allowing the bill to pass by a voice vote, which would allow the presiding officer to rule in favor of the side that has the most voice votes.

However, members could request a recorded, roll call vote, which would require the full House to return to pass the bill, something lawmakers are eager to avoid amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 118322

Reported Deaths: 3591
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21502767
Lake10688323
Elkhart6707111
St. Joseph6619113
Allen6330205
Hamilton4938109
Vanderburgh378131
Hendricks2766124
Monroe265536
Tippecanoe256613
Johnson2352124
Clark225957
Porter219947
Delaware200162
Cass19559
Vigo186827
Madison170375
LaPorte149141
Floyd139664
Warrick138242
Howard132663
Kosciusko125917
Bartholomew118457
Marshall101524
Dubois99919
Boone99146
Grant95134
Hancock94643
Noble93132
Henry81226
Jackson7739
Wayne77014
Morgan73438
Daviess68028
Shelby68029
Dearborn67528
LaGrange64011
Clinton62314
Harrison59224
Putnam58411
Gibson5355
Knox5289
Lawrence51629
Montgomery51121
DeKalb48811
White48714
Decatur45939
Miami4394
Greene42735
Fayette42313
Jasper4012
Scott39011
Steuben3907
Posey3460
Sullivan33812
Jennings31612
Franklin31325
Clay3085
Ripley3078
Orange28824
Whitley2826
Carroll27813
Adams2763
Wabash2728
Starke2717
Washington2701
Wells2674
Spencer2633
Jefferson2503
Huntington2473
Fulton2442
Tipton22822
Randolph2238
Perry22113
Jay1920
Newton17411
Owen1711
Martin1680
Pike1641
Rush1574
Vermillion1310
Fountain1292
Blackford1213
Pulaski1141
Crawford1100
Parke1072
Brown1043
Benton870
Ohio797
Union790
Switzerland690
Warren411
Unassigned0226

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 151802

Reported Deaths: 4746
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin27119607
Cuyahoga17554656
Hamilton13237315
Montgomery7938164
Lucas7343364
Butler6085111
Summit5366252
Warren311549
Marion311147
Mahoning3095281
Stark2913175
Pickaway267944
Lorain233386
Delaware230621
Fairfield213253
Licking194963
Columbiana194080
Wood192172
Trumbull1916132
Clark183940
Clermont174423
Lake164851
Greene149034
Medina147539
Miami146351
Allen146269
Portage116866
Mercer113218
Erie95947
Tuscarawas94120
Wayne94068
Richland92219
Ross89624
Madison84312
Darke80643
Geauga72649
Athens7242
Belmont72427
Hancock72010
Lawrence67122
Ashtabula66048
Shelby66010
Putnam61923
Auglaize6119
Sandusky58020
Huron5557
Union5512
Scioto5167
Seneca48814
Ottawa47130
Preble44515
Muskingum4383
Holmes3959
Jefferson3384
Henry33414
Defiance33012
Champaign3133
Logan3133
Clinton30213
Perry3009
Brown2922
Knox28815
Washington26223
Jackson2616
Morrow2612
Fulton2591
Hardin25713
Crawford2476
Ashland2464
Coshocton23411
Fayette2336
Highland2303
Williams2143
Wyandot21312
Pike2020
Gallia19613
Meigs17610
Guernsey1738
Hocking1679
Carroll1527
Adams1364
Van Wert1243
Monroe11018
Paulding1100
Harrison643
Morgan500
Vinton473
Noble340
Unassigned00
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