The emergency package is the largest of its kind in modern American history. But without more aid, American workers and the economy could face danger.
- The United States Senate and White House agreed Wednesday on a $2 trillion stimulus bill to help bolster American workers and the economy riven by the coronavirus pandemic.
- It's the largest emergency stimulus package in modern American history.
- American individuals making less than $75,000 would be given a one-time payment of $1,200, and billions more would be given to small businesses, local and state governments, and hospitals.
- But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Congress will "probably" need to provide more aid to Americans and the economy as the crisis continues.
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After a strained week of negotiations, the Senate agreed on a $2 trillion stimulus bill to help American workers and the economy. The bipartisan effort, which has White House approval, is the largest of its kind in modern American history.
But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told CNN Wednesday that Congress should be ready to provide more aid to people and the economy.
"We should be willing, able to come back in a bipartisan way and do more if we need. I believe we'll probably have to do that one way or another," the Democrat from New York said. "We don't know how long it's going to last, who's affected. We still don't exactly know."
If the bill passes both houses of Congress and is approved by President Donald Trump, it would give direct payments to American workers, which could begin in April. Americans making less than $75,000 per year would receive a one-off payment of $1,200, with less money going to those who earn $75,000 or more. People making at least $99,000, and families who earn a combined $198,000 or more, would not receive a check. All parents would be paid an additional $500 per child, according to the proposed text.
Unemployment insurance will also be temporarily expanded, increasing such payments by $600 a week for the next four months and covering gig-economy workers, freelancers, and furloughed employees.
The bill allocates a total of $250 billion to individuals and families. Some $300 billion will go to small businesses, $150 billion for local and state governments, and hospitals will get $130 billion.
Congress may bolster the stimulus with more funds
The $1,200 payment is just above the national median rent for a one-bedroom apartment, according to an analysis of rent prices in 2018 from the apartment search company Abodo.
Indeed, Schumer told CNN the bill was passed quickly and doesn't contain everything Americans need.
"Does it have everything we need? No. Are some things in there that I would have rather not had? No, of course," he said Wednesday. "But this is the art of coming together. America needed huge help quickly. And I think we've risen to that occasion."
Jason Furman, the former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama, told BBC Newshour Wednesday morning that Congress will likely continue writing legislation and expand the stimulus "to combat the spread of coronavirus."
"I would have preferred that that was built into the legislation upfront," Furman told BBC Newshour on Wednesday morning. "That it said things like, 'If there's still a problem, more checks would go out.'"
The package comes just weeks after the Federal Reserve put $1.5 trillion of liquidity into the markets to avoid economic collapse. Wednesday's package is the first that gives aid to individuals and families, many of whom are out of work due to social distancing and self-isolation measures.
"This is a war-time level of investment into our nation," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. "The Senate's going to make sure they have the ammunition they need."