“At last, we have a deal”: Federal leaders reach agreement over $2 trillion aid package
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House and Senate leaders of both parties struck an agreement late Tuesday on a sweeping $2 trillion measure to aid workers, businesses and a health care system strained by the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak.
The agreement came after days of often intense haggling and mounting pressure and still needed to be finalized in detailed legislative language.
Top White House aide Eric Ueland announced the agreement in a Capitol hallway shortly after midnight. “Ladies and gentlemen, we are done. We have a deal,” Ueland said.
The unprecedented economic rescue package would give direct payments to most Americans, expand unemployment benefits and provide a $367 billion program for small businesses to keep making payroll while workers are forced to stay home.
The final details had proved nettlesome. One of the last issues to close concerned $500 billion for guaranteed, subsidized loans to larger industries, including a fight over how generous to be with the airlines. Hospitals would get significant help as well.
The package was aimed to combat what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had called “the most serous threat to Americans’ health in over a century and quite likely the greatest risk to America’s jobs and prosperity that we’ve seen since the Great Depression.”