Senate Republicans are racing to pull together a massive economic stimulus plan, the third phase of Congress’s coronavirus relief efforts, following an $8.3 billion emergency funding bill and the paid leave package passed Wednesday by the Senate.
Negotiations on the stimulus, including eventual talks with House Democrats, will likely extend into next week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly has given four special task forces until Thursday to come up with their pieces of the plan, covering health issues, tax policy, small businesses and major industries.
The White House, in the meantime, issued a two-page outline of its own $1 trillion proposal — larger than the stimulus plan adopted after the financial crisis — and that plan reportedly grew to $1.3 trillion as of Wednesday. “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s goal to pump money into the economy quickly has him adding another decimal-point to his plan nearly every time he speaks,” Bloomberg’s Saleha Mohsin, Jennifer Jacobs and Josh Wingrove wrote Wednesday.
Mnuchin reportedly warned lawmakers that the unemployment rate could surge as high as 20% if Congress doesn’t enact the stimulus.
The administration plan, which could still change as negotiations continue, includes:
- $500 billion for two rounds of direct payments to taxpayers. The first round would start April 6, while the second would start May 18. Each round would be for the same amount, with the size of the payments based on income level and family size.
- A $300 billion loan program for small businesses — those with 500 or fewer employees. The government would guarantee 100% of six weeks of payroll, capped at $1,540 per employee per week. Employers would be required to keep paying all workers for eight weeks.
- A roughly $50 billion airline bailout.
- $150 billion in aid to “other severely distressed sectors of the U.S. economy.”