Leaders in Washington reached an agreement Wednesday morning (March 25) on a $2 trillion bill to rescue the economy, the largest economic stimulus package in American history, according to multiple reports.
Capping days of marathon negotiations, the measure calls for direct payments to individuals and families as well as expanded unemployment benefits, money for businesses, and funding for state governments financially crippled by the coronavirus pandemic.
A $367 billion program for small businesses is intended to help them pay workers forced to stay home.
The legislation, which is expected to be enacted within days, is the biggest fiscal stimulus package in modern American history, aimed at delivering critical financial support to businesses forced to shut their doors and relief to American families and hospitals.
The final terms of the deal were not yet released by the Senate. Lawmakers and aides were still working on sections of the bill early Wednesday morning.
“I’m hopeful that over the next few hours, we’ll finish what’s left and be able to circulate it early in the morning,” Eric Ueland, the White House legislative affairs director, told reporters on Capitol Hill.
The bill includes up to $1,200 for most individuals, $2,400 for married couples and $500 per child. Smaller amounts would be sent to individuals earning over $75,000 or couples making over $150,000.
Unemployment benefits would be extended by 13 weeks and include enhancement of benefits for four months, officials familiar with the unfinished agreement told the New York Times.
The package also includes direct support for corporations of all sizes and gives assistance to people who have seen their paychecks reduced.
The stimulus package is the third legislative action this month to help offset economic devastation triggered by the coronavirus. President Trump already approved emergency aid of $8.3 billion and another package with paid leave, free COVID-19 testing and help for families.
The new agreement also earmarks $350 billion to launch a small business lending program for companies. The loans will be forgiven if employers keep paying workers’ salaries during the coronavirus pandemic.
The stimulus bill also has a provision that would block President Trump and his family, as well as other top government officials and members of Congress from getting loans or investments from the bill. Over 3,600 workers — not counting servers, bartenders, and other restaurant staff — have lost jobs because of COVID-19.