US Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer in Washington, DC, on March 20 2019. Picture: AFP/SAUL LOEB
US Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer in Washington, DC, on March 20 2019. Picture: AFP/SAUL LOEB

Washington — The enormous stimulus package negotiated between the Trump administration and US congressional leaders early on Wednesday is an unprecedented $2-trillion aid package designed to help the public and the economy to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.

The bill provides direct help to citizens, businesses, hospitals and state and local governments. It needs to be passed by the Senate and the House. A Senate vote may come as soon as Wednesday.

Here are some of the provisions.

  • Big businesses: About $500bn can be used to back loans and assistance to companies, as well as state and local governments.
  • Airlines: $25bn in strings-attached grants and $25bn in loans to passenger carriers; $3bn to airline contractors providing ground staff such as caterers; while cargo haulers would see $4bn in grants.
  • Small businesses: More than $350bn to aid small businesses.
  • Hospitals: A $150bn boost for hospitals and other healthcare providers for equipment and supplies.
  • Individuals: Direct payments to lower- and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult, as well as $500 for each child. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said cheques would be cut by April 6.
  • Unemployed: Unemployment insurance extension to four months, bolstered by $600 weekly. Eligibility would be expanded to cover more workers.
  • Restrictions on business aid: Any company receiving a government loan would be subject to a ban on stock buybacks through the term of the loan plus one additional year. They also would have to limit executive bonuses and take steps to protect workers.
  • Transparency: The treasury department would have to disclose the terms of loans or other aid to companies, and a new treasury inspector general would oversee the lending programme.
  • Democrats: Won language that would bar any business owned by President Donald Trump or his family from getting loans from the treasury. Businesses owned by members of Congress, heads of executive departments and vice-president Mike Pence would also be blocked.
  • Elections: States get $400m in election assistance for 2020 voting amid the Covid-19 pandemic, allowing them to increase the ability to vote by mail, and expand early voting and online registration.

Bloomberg

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