Yahoo Finance’s Brian Cheung and the Yahoo Finance Live panel discuss where the stimulus package stands and Sen. Toomey's comments that Fed Chair Powell did not object to stimulus package provisions on emergency loans.
BRIAN CHEUNG: Still waiting on developments in Washington over getting that second round of stimulus, that $900 billion package. The latest is that the earliest that we'll see a vote is tonight with no legislative text yet in the flesh. So we've cleared a few hurdles over the weekend.
There were some disagreements about the Federal Reserve's emergency loan facilities. We'll talk about that later. But the big headline is that as part of the package as proposed would be stimulus checks, unemployment insurance, a few other interesting things, like tax breaks for business meals. But I want to toss it over to Shawn. I mean, what in the package caught your eye as proposed so far?
- Well, Brian, it's interesting. First, I want to note the market's reaction. There's a lot going on today. I think the dominating headline is obviously the latest when it comes to COVID in the new strain.
But the fact that investors are more excited about the fact that we finally got a package, I think, is something certainly worth noting. In terms of what comes next, there's a lot of questions here because, like you said, we're still waiting for the text of the bill. And then from there, lawmakers need to vote on that.
So we're looking at a pretty long day for the House and for the Senate. And we're still waiting for that text. Once we have that, we'll have a little bit more guidance just in terms of the timing of the votes.
But a couple of things-- and you brought up some of those that caught my eye in this bill-- the $600 stimulus checks. That, of course, was something that President Trump had been pushing, something that Democrats had really been pushing in the past. So the fact that we are getting stimulus checks here, $600 direct payments.
It's certainly worth noting that enhanced unemployment benefits, an additional $300 a week, $325 billion for small businesses, and $15 billion for airlines. I think that was something that people were questioning whether or not would actually be included in the bill. So certainly steps in the right direction.
We've heard from Democrats already vowing that this is just the start. Senator Chuck Schumer saying that it's a step in the right direction, but more is going to be needed to help the economy going forward. That, of course, could be one of the reasons why market and investors aren't more excited about this $900 billion deal.
But, Brian, another one point in the bill that you are specifically watching was one of those sticking points over the weekend. And that came down to Senator Toomey here and his push, really, to prevent the Fed from reviving the lending programs that were set up under the CARES Act. And we finally got some resolution there.
BRIAN CHEUNG: Yeah. Well, I was in the middle of "The Queen's Gambit" on a Sunday morning when I finally got a call that said there was some updates happening on Capitol Hill with regards to that provision that you mentioned. Again, Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, attempting to really hobble the amount of, I guess, lending that the Federal Reserve can do during this emergency time. He argues that there's a lot of mission creep going on at the Federal Reserve with the unprecedented amount of actions that it's taken in the midst of this crisis.
And effectively, what he wants to do is add a rider to this bill that would say, at least for the specific facilities concerning state and local government lending, small and medium-sized business lending, in addition to corporate credit and corporate debt backstops, that those three facilities could not be reopened in the future without express permission from Congress, which would mean that in the future-- let's say a Janet Yellen led Treasury Secretary, for example-- maybe they would not be able to reopen those three specific facilities next year if things go south. A very important development as, again, we watch that amount of cases go up nationally, in addition to the international headlines with that new strain in the United Kingdom. So a lot of concern definitely there.
But again, a lot to watch for. We still don't have the bill text so we don't have specifics. But something definitely worth watching as Congress and the Senate try to get through that bill before Christmas.