Senate OKs $2T coronavirus stimulus package in unanimous vote; House sets Friday vote

  
Via:  Vic Eldred  •  2 months ago  •  27 comments

By:   By Gregg Re | Fox News

Senate OKs $2T coronavirus stimulus package in unanimous vote; House sets Friday vote
96-0 in the United States Senate. Congratulations AMERICA!...Donald Trump

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By a vote of 96-0, the Senate  passed  a massive $2 trillion  coronavirus  stimulus compromise package just before midnight Wednesday, ending days of deadlock and sending the bill to the  House of Representatives  -- which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said will soon take up the historic measure to bring relief to individuals, small businesses, and larger corporations "with strong bipartisan support."


The  880-page  legislation is the largest economic relief bill in U.S. history. Senate Majority Leader  Mitch McConnell , R-Ky., appeared somber and exhausted as he announced the vote. He released senators from Washington until April 20, though he promised to recall them if needed.


"96-0 in the United States Senate," President Trump wrote on Twitter. "Congratulations AMERICA!"
The unanimous vote came despite misgivings on both sides about whether it goes too far or not far enough. The vote capped days of difficult negotiations as Washington confronted a national challenge unlike any it has ever faced. Unemployment numbers were set to be revealed Thursday morning, and experts warned they could reach alarming new highs.
The  package  would provide one-time direct payments to Americans of $1,200 per adult making up to $75,000 a year, and $2,400 to married couples making up to $150,000, with $500 payments per child. After a $75,000 threshold for individuals, the benefit would be reduced by $5 for each $100 the taxpayer makes. A similar $150,000 threshold applies to couples, and a $112,500 threshold for heads of households.
The legislation passed by the Senate will use 2019 tax returns, if available, or 2018 tax returns to assess income for determining how much direct financial aid individuals receive. Those who did not file tax returns can use a Form SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement or Form RRB-1099, a Social Security Equivalent Benefit Statement, per Page 149 of  the bill .

Further, the bill allocates $250 billion to extend unemployment insurance to more workers, and lengthen the duration to 39 weeks, up from the normal 26 weeks. $600 extra a week would be provided for four months. (Just before voting on the final package began late Wednesday, the Senate was debating an amendment from Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., to bar people from getting more from new unemployment benefits than they would have received on the job; the amendment needed 60 votes and failed 48-48.)

The final package would additionally provide $349 billion in loans to small businesses -- and money spent on rent, payroll and utilities becomes grants that don't need to be paid back. Many hotels would qualify as small businesses under the plan.

Passenger airlines would receive $25 billion for workers' "salaries and benefits," plus up to $25 billion more in loan guarantees and loans. Contract workers would also receive $3 billion in assistance. Airlines would have to agree not to furlough workers until at least the end of September in return.

About $17 billion will go to other distressed companies like Boeing, which is seen as essential to national security. And, approximately $200 billion would be provided in tax assistance to small businesses, including through payroll tax deferrals.

At the same time, the bill omits many -- though not all -- items from Pelosi's  version  of the legislation that Republicans had called wasteful or irrelevant, including climate-change-related emissions restrictions for airlines and various diversity-related provisions.

Gone from the stimulus bill are mentions of mandatory early voting,  ballot harvesting , requirements that federal agencies review their usage of "minority banks," and attempts to curb airlines' carbon emissions -- a Pelosi demand that  even Saikat Chakrabarti , the former chief of staff to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and an author of the Green New Deal, called "ridiculous."

"What's not in the Senate's bipartisan coronavirus bill: Pelosi's outrageous wish list," wrote GOP national spokesperson Elizabeth Harrington. "0 mentions of 'diversity.' 0 mentions of 'emissions.' 0 mentions of 'early voting.' 0 mentions of 'climate change.' Good!"

But, the package still contained some wins for Pelosi. Page 524 of the  bill text  indicates that many businesses that take a government loan would be obligated to remain neutral in any "union organizing effort" during the loan -- a major giveaway to unions. Affected businesses would have between 500 and 10,000 employees.

And, Page 781 of the bill provides $25 million to the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives to cover "salary and expenses."

Also in the final bill text, $25 million would still be allocated for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Trump, speaking at the White House coronavirus briefing earlier Wednesday, said that he understood the provision was necessary because Democrats demanded some concessions in order to get the stimulus bill passed, even though it galled some conservatives.

Pelosi was the first to demand the Kennedy Center money in  her own bill , which Republicans said was full of unseemly payouts for well-connected special interests at a time of national crisis.

The Kennedy Center put out a  statement Wednesday evening  saying it was "extraordinarily grateful that Congress has recognized our institution's unique status and has included funding in its legislation to ensure that we can reopen our doors and stages as soon as we are able."

"For an opera house, you sure are tone-deaf,"  responded  blogger Jim Treacher, after telling the Kennedy Center  where  to shove its statement.

Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said the House would vote on the matter on Friday. Republican leaders said they'd whip votes to support the bill.

"Over the past few days, the Senate has stepped into the breach," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in his own remarks. "We packed weeks or perhaps months of the legislative process into five days. Representatives from both sides of the aisle and both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue have forged a bipartisan agreement in highly partisan times, with very little time to spare."

He added: "It’s been a long, hard road, with a remarkable number of twists and turns, but for the sake of millions of Americans, it will be worth it. It will be worth it to get help to millions of small businesses and save tens of millions of jobs."

However, earlier in the day, a senior GOP source  told  Fox News contributor and Townhall.com editor Guy Benson that the compromise bill was a face-saving exercise by Schumer, and that he was trying to "take credit" for a GOP bill that he filibustered for "small ball" alterations. Democrats, the source said, couldn't drag the situation out much longer; economic conditions have worsened dramatically, and President Trump's  approval rating  has risen.

And, a senior Republican aide separately told Fox News: "I half expected that the next thing I read would be the Minority Leader taking credit for inventing fire. The reality is that almost every significant 'win' he's taking credit for, is actually a Senate Republican idea."

Republicans had "never objected" to more hospital funding, or that oversight of the stimulus stabilization fund "be structured almost exactly like TARP oversight," the aide went on. And Republicans were the first to push for three months of unemployment insurance and "did not oppose adding a fourth."

The stimulus movement came as stocks posted their first back-to-back gains in weeks, but much of Wednesday's early rally faded as the hitch developed in the Senate. The market is down nearly 27 percent since setting a record high a month ago.

Amid the debate, presidential hopeful Sen.  Bernie Sanders  said he might try to torpedo the Senate's stimulus package as Republican senators raised objections about what they called a "massive drafting error" related to unemployment benefits.

“In my view, it would be an outrage to prevent working-class Americans to receive the emergency unemployment assistance included in this legislation," Sanders said in a statement, also posted on social media.
Sanders took to the Senate floor late Wednesday at approximately 9:30 p.m. ET to say he was concerned that the administration would be able to "expend $500 billion in virtually any way they want" under the legislation. In fact, the administration  would not have such unilateral control.

"They're very upset that somebody who is making 10, 12 bucks an hour might end up with a paycheck for four months more than they received last week," Sanders went on. "Oh, my god, the universe is collapsing!"

The concern from Sens. Lindsey Graham, Tim Scott, R-S.C., Sasse, and Rick Scott, R-Fla., was that the the bill could pay workers more in unemployment benefits than they'd make in salary, by sticking a $600 per week payment on top of ordinary benefits that are calculated as a percentage of income.

Democrats and economists have countered that the point of the new unemployment benefit is, in fact, to make peoples' salaries whole, and that companies could simply raise wages to compete and attract workers.

"The weird thing about this hypothetical 'generous unemployment pay will discourage people from entering critical industries' is... they could just raise wages?" Alex Godofsky wrote on Twitter. "Amazon has already raised wages. Like, it's okay if wages - and prices - go up for a while. It's fine."

Others have noted that the unemployment benefits boost  would expire in the summer . In an article entitled "Republican Senators’ Objection to Expanded Unemployment Benefits Makes Little Sense," Josh Barro began by noting that "these are unemployment benefits, and you generally have to have been laid off to claim them."

"We will continue to have virus-mitigation measures that create mass unemployment for a significant period, and even after those measures can be relaxed through much of the country, it will take some time for employers to re-ingest all the previously laid-off workers," Barro wrote. "In fact, it’s likely that the shutdowns will persist long enough that the enhanced benefits will need to be extended. If we’re in a situation by July where all the shutdowns are over and employers are eagerly hiring and our biggest concern is too many people don’t want to go back to work, I will be overjoyed and very surprised."

Later Wednesday, the Republicans agreed to drop their objections to fast-tracking the stimulus vote, as long as there was first a vote on the Sasse amendment to cap unemployment benefits to 100 percent of salary.

Also in the evening, Pelosi said unanimous consent was a nonstarter in the House, and implied that quick passage in the lower chamber may be unrealistic. Pelosi has called for members to have at least 24 hours to review the bill text once it's available.

“That’s not gonna work," she told reporters shortly after 7:30 p.m. ET, referring to unanimous consent. "Republicans have told us that’s not possible from their said. ... What I’d like to see -- because this a $2 trillion bill -- I’d like to see a good debate on the floor."

Meanwhile, the White House projected confidence. Insistently optimistic, President Trump said of the greatest public-health emergency in anyone's lifetime, "I don’t think it's going to end up being such a rough patch" and anticipated the economy soaring “like a rocket ship” when it's over. Yet he implored Congress late in the day to move on critical aid without further delay.

The package is intended as relief for an economy spiraling into recession or worse and a nation facing a grim toll from an infection that's killed nearly 20,000 people worldwide. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, asked how long the aid would keep the economy afloat, said: “We’ve anticipated three months. Hopefully, we won’t need this for three months."

Underscoring the effort's sheer magnitude, the bill finances a response with a price tag that equals half the size of the entire $4 trillion annual federal budget.

Fox News' Chad Pergram and Jason Donner, and Fox Business Network's Hillary Vaughn, as well as The Associated Press, contributed to this report.


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Vic Eldred
1  seeder  Vic Eldred    2 months ago

"Gone from the stimulus bill are mentions of mandatory early voting,  ballot harvesting , requirements that federal agencies review their usage of "minority banks," and attempts to curb airlines' carbon emissions -- a Pelosi demand that  even Saikat Chakrabarti , the former chief of staff to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and an author of the Green New Deal, called "ridiculous."

"What's not in the Senate's bipartisan coronavirus bill: Pelosi's outrageous wish list," wrote GOP national spokesperson Elizabeth Harrington. "0 mentions of 'diversity.' 0 mentions of 'emissions.' 0 mentions of 'early voting.' 0 mentions of 'climate change.' Good!"

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
2  Ed-NavDoc    2 months ago

I did not see anything above regarding the military or veteran's issues. Did those get left out I wonder?

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
2.1  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @2    2 months ago

On the group site I have the text of the Bill.  Don't forget it's 883 pages. Whenever there is a Bill that big there is a lot folded into the contents. We even have a bit of pork to get that unanimous vote and safely get it through the House.

 
 
 
evilgenius
2.2  evilgenius  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @2    2 months ago

You can find the text of the bill here

In a quick search of the text I found the follow for "veteran":

There is $13B for the VA specifically for coronavirus care.

There's a provision in there authorizing the VA to increase telehealth solutions removing the red tape to get it done. Both for medical and mental health.

VA has more leeway to expand who can be served in several areas, but sets up a 6 months renewal process.

The VA cannot suspend a veteran or veteran caregiver from the program during the crisis.

The VA can waive paperwork requirements for 6 months for new claims and a veteran can give verbal consent via phone if necessary.

VA can waive pay limitations for employees that are working during the crisis.

The new checks to be distributed under this new bill cannot be considered income for eligibility for VA Benefits.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
2.2.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  evilgenius @2.2    2 months ago

Understood, my thanks.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
2.2.2  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @2.2.1    2 months ago

In the end they were able to do something for the country!

A unanimous vote!


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Ed-NavDoc
2.2.3  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Vic Eldred @2.2.2    2 months ago

Yep.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
3  seeder  Vic Eldred    2 months ago

Sen. Bernie Sanders: "Some of my Republican colleagues are very distressed. They're very upset that somebody that's making $10, $12 an hour might end up with a paycheck for 4 months more than they received last week. Oh my God! The universe is collapsing!"

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He's too funny!

 
 
 
evilgenius
3.1  evilgenius  replied to  Vic Eldred @3    2 months ago

He's almost irrelevant these days.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
3.1.1  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  evilgenius @3.1    2 months ago

Irrelevant?   He made Joe Biden move to the left, didn't he?

 
 
 
evilgenius
3.1.2  evilgenius  replied to  Vic Eldred @3.1.1    2 months ago
He made Joe Biden move to the left, didn't he?

Did he? Joe said he listen to the arguments, but hasn't changed his policies. Same as any other politician trying to win an election. Sanders may have had a bigger effect on the election (and by extension Biden's policies) were we not interrupted by the pandemic. I

'Id say this shelter in place stuff all plays better for Trump. The longer the Dems have to stay home the less we hear about them and the more we see Trump on TV. It's why Trumps poll numbers are up.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
3.1.3  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  evilgenius @3.1.2    2 months ago
but hasn't changed his policies.

A $15 minimum wage proposal, higher taxes on investment income and no tuition for students at public colleges sounds a lot like Sanders policies!

 The longer the Dems have to stay home the less we hear about them

That would clearly benefit Biden, who needs to stay hidden. He dared do an interview recently. Did you catch the damning interview with Nicole Wallace a few days ago?

 
 
 
evilgenius
3.1.4  evilgenius  replied to  Vic Eldred @3.1.3    2 months ago
A $15 minimum wage proposal, higher taxes on investment income and no tuition for students at public colleges sounds a lot like Sanders policies!

The minimum wage proposal is pretty standard Democratic policy these days as is higher taxes on investment income. The no tuition thing no matter what Sanders or Biden say will not happen in my lifetime. It would have to work in some progressive state first for the public at large to even think it could work nation wide. And I don't think it can work.

Did you catch the damning interview with Nicole Wallace a few days ago?

No, I missed that.  I see he was online this week criticizing the FL Governor though.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
3.1.5  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  evilgenius @3.1.4    2 months ago
The no tuition thing no matter what Sanders or Biden say will not happen in my lifetime

I would much prefer the federal government, which does aid higher education, set strict limits on how much a university can charge students for an education. Current tuition costs are ridiculous and unjustified!

No, I missed that.

When you get a chance, check it out. Biden was speechless two or three times. Wallace giggled throughout.

 
 
 
XDm9mm
3.1.6  XDm9mm  replied to  Vic Eldred @3.1.5    2 months ago
Current tuition costs are ridiculous and unjustified!

Come on Vic.  How can they be ridiculous?  They do after all need to hire those multimillion dollar football coaches.  Isn't that what college is for?  //S//

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
3.1.7  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  XDm9mm @3.1.6    2 months ago

I thought it was supposed to be the other way around. Didn't the Notre Dame football team help build that beautiful campus in South Bend?

 
 
 
evilgenius
3.1.8  evilgenius  replied to  Vic Eldred @3.1.5    2 months ago
I would much prefer the federal government, which does aid higher education, set strict limits on how much a university can charge students for an education. Current tuition costs are ridiculous and unjustified!

While I agree that tuition costs are ridiculous, I waffle back and forth on federal limits. It sounds good, but then it limits states' rights. (shrug) 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
3.1.9  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  evilgenius @3.1.8    2 months ago
It sounds good, but then it limits states' rights.

The limit would be on the idea of free enterprise. This may be a place for limits.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
3.1.10  JohnRussell  replied to  Vic Eldred @3.1.5    2 months ago

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
3.1.11  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1.10    2 months ago

Ah, just what we needed a campaign ad!  Funny, that same graph was used by MSNBC last night, I forget which show. The President has pulled out all the stops on this one and the polls show everyone knows it!

Any thoughts on the stimulus package?

Pelosi is taking questions right now. (the crumpled tissue is a nice touch!)

 
 
 
user image
3.1.12    replied to  XDm9mm @3.1.6    2 months ago
They do after all need to hire those multimillion dollar football coaches.  Isn't that what college is for? 

Money well spent. The top football teams in the US are some of the most profitable collegiate entities in the world today.

The 20 most profitable college football programs made an eye-popping $925 million combined after expenses. The SEC is the leading conference on the field and on the balance sheet, as it has nine schools in the top 20. Of the remaining 11 most profitable programs, there are four from the Big Ten, three from Pac-12, two from the Big-12 and one from the ACC. Here’s the complete list:

  1. Texas – $92 million
  2. Tennessee – $70 million
  3. LSU – $58 million
  4. Michigan – $56 million
  5. Notre Dame – $54 million
  6. Georgia – $50 million
  7. Ohio State – $50 million
  8. Oklahoma – $48 million
  9. Auburn – $47 million
  10. Alabama – $46 million
  11. Oregon – $40 million
  12. Florida State – $39 million
  13. Arkansas – $38 million
  14. Washington – $38 million
  15. Florida – $37 million
  16. Texas A&M – $37 million
  17. Penn State – $36 million
  18. Michigan State – $32 million
  19. USC – $29 million
  20. South Carolina – $28 million
 
 
 
Snuffy
3.2  Snuffy  replied to  Vic Eldred @3    2 months ago

yes he is but lets not forget that he's still running for the DNC nomination and wants to be the President. As he cannot go out on the campaign trail right now he has to find his moments where he can.

And TBH he is kind of right. The elevated money for unemployment only runs for 4 months and correct me if I'm wrong but someone cannot draw unemployment if they quit their jobs. So the concern about encouraging people to quit their jobs and draw unemployment is in my mind overblown. There are things in the package that I don't care for but I understand that in order to get both sides to agree to the package you have to put in somethings the other side wants.  oh well..

but hey...  they can send that clip to u-tube for lots of people to enjoy...   ;)

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
3.2.1  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  Snuffy @3.2    2 months ago
The elevated money for unemployment only runs for 4 months and correct me if I'm wrong but someone cannot draw unemployment if they quit their jobs.

Correct....Nancy Pelosi made that same point last night.


So the concern about encouraging people to quit their jobs and draw unemployment is in my mind overblown.

You may be right. The Senate Leader allowed Sen Ben Sasse to offer an amendment last night which would have changed the language to prevent the $600 payout amount to those who's income would have been enhanced. The Senate took a vote and the measure failed, then McConnell put the entire Bill to a vote and got the unanimous vote of approval.

There are things in the package that I don't care for but I understand that in order to get both sides to agree to the package you have to put in somethings the other side wants.

Sadly the way it works, especially on a Bill of this magnitude. We can take consolation in that the pork is nowhere near what democrats were looking for only 2 days ago.

 
 
 
evilgenius
3.2.2  evilgenius  replied to  Vic Eldred @3.2.1    2 months ago
Sen Ben Sasse to offer an amendment last night which would have changed the language to prevent the $600 payout amount to those who's income would have been enhanced.

He makes sense and I agreed with him, but it's my understanding that the state UE offices wouldn't be able to deliver the 100% of wage limit Sasse and friends wanted. Too bad too.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
3.2.3  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  evilgenius @3.2.2    2 months ago

The Treasury Secretary said as much.

 
 
 
user image
3.2.4    replied to  Vic Eldred @3.2.1    2 months ago
correct me if I'm wrong but someone cannot draw unemployment if they quit their jobs.

True, but you can bet there's going be a lot people making under $ 600 a week "volunteering" to be laid off.

Don't forget the federal government would give jobless workers an extra $600 a week on top of their state benefits. So, if someone is getting $ 300 a week in state unemployment benefits they'll get $ 900 per week.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
3.3  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Vic Eldred @3    2 months ago

About as funny as a case of a social disease...

 
 
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