National News, Wednesday – $2 Trillion Coronavirus Aid Package To Pass Today in Congress

News for Wednesday, March 25th from across the nation and stories of interest from BasinLife.com

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

In Washington D.C., the negotiations between the House and Senate and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on behalf of President Trump, looks  pass an estimated $2 trillion stimulus package sometime today.     

The news of this has sent the stock market soaring upward 2,200 points yesterday and another 1,100 points this morning on news that Congress will vote and begin to combat the economic consequences of  America’s coronavirus pandemic. 

The Senate plans to vote on the mammoth bill today.

The legislation will provide direct financial checks to many Americans, drastically expand unemployment insurance, offer hundreds in billions in loans to both small and large businesses, and extend additional resources to health-care providers.

“This is a wartime level of investment into our nation,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the early hours of Wednesday after the two sides had reached a deal.   

“The men and women of the greatest country on Earth are going to defeat this coronavirus and reclaim our future.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she is “optimistic” about the legislation and House members are expected then to attempt quickly to pass the bill by unanimous consent, a procedure that enables the chamber to approve the legislation without lawmakers being present to vote.  An objection from even a single member could slow the process. House lawmakers are currently on recess and scattered across the country.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he had spoken to President Trump about the agreement and that Mr. Trump would absolutely sign it as it is written today.

The Senate is also poised to approve $350 billion in loans to small businesses in an effort to keep Americans on payrolls as economic activity across the country comes to a standstill.

The corporate aid portion also includes $17 billion for assistance to companies deemed to be crucial to national security, which could include firms such as Boeing Company and General Electric and the airlines.

The legislation will also invest $150 billion in the health care system, which is already straining to respond to the quickly expanding number of infections across the country, and send $150 billion to state and local governments saddled with costs related to the virus, Mr. Schumer told Senate Democrats Wednesday morning.

Swift passage of the $2 trillion package would be the third time a deeply divided Congress had acted to pass legislation responding to the coronavirus pandemic in recent weeks. Lawmakers also quickly passed an $8.3 billion bill funding vaccine development efforts, among other issues, and a bill expanding paid-leave measures that was estimated to cost more than $100 billion.

Shares of airlines and aerospace companies jumped Wednesday on bets that the industry would be one of the major beneficiaries of the stimulus package.

Dow heavyweight Boeing soared 33%, giving a boost to the blue-chip average. United Airlines added 16% and American Airlines rose 17%.

The U.S. now trails only China and Italy in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases, with 55,243 infections, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. More than 800 people have died.

Prince Charles, the 71-year-old heir to the British throne, tested positive for the virus yesterday.  Singer Jackson Browne is said to have the virus.

New York is the center of the pandemic in the U.S., with the rate of infection there doubling every three days, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.  The state has more than 26,000 cases, a number that has risen sharply in recent days as testing increased. The majority of those are in New York City.

U.S. officials have urged anyone leaving the New York metro area to self-isolate for 14 days to avoid spreading the virus to other parts of the country.

State leaders across America have urged residents to stay home in clampdowns aimed at slowing the spread of the virus by limiting human interaction. But those moves are dealing a sharp blow to businesses, leaving many scrambling for cash and leading some to cut costs by furloughing workers or cutting salaries.

Today’s $2 trillion stimulus package dishes out direct checks to many Americans, an expanded unemployment-insurance program, loans to businesses and additional resources for health-care providers as the virus spreads.

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