President Trump signaled his support for the massive stimulus bill being ironed out in the Senate, and called on Congress to immediately pass it and send it to him for his signature.
“I encourage the House to pass this vital legislation,” Trump said Tuesday during a briefing of the White House coronavirus task force. “I will sign it immediately.”
Trump’s comments come as the Senate is working out the final issues of the bill with a vote expected to occur later this evening after two failed attempts on the original version of the legislation earlier in the week.
Democrats had claimed the earlier Senate bill did too much for large corporations and didn’t do enough for workers. Upon reaching an agreement with Republicans and the White House, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the bill amounts to “unemployment compensation on steroids,” and that every American who is laid off will have their missed salary remunerated. That provision will enable companies to stay afloat and immediately bring back those employees when things are safe, Schumer said.
Democrats said the package specifically would help replace the salaries of furloughed workers for four months, rather than the three months first proposed. Furloughed workers would get whatever amount a state usually provides for unemployment, plus a $600 per week add-on, with gig workers like Uber drivers covered for the first time.
The package also would give one-time payments of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child directly to the public.
The massive economic relief package would provide a $367 billion program for small businesses to keep making payroll while workers are forced to stay home. 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, given that Democrats wanted them to abide by new carbon emissions restrictions.
Republicans also won inclusion of an “employee retention” tax credit that’s estimated to provide $50 billion to companies that retain employees on payroll and cover 50 percent of workers’ paychecks. Companies would also be able to defer payment of the 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax.
Other provisions in a related package, according to a summary, include $100 billion for direct aid to health care institutions battling the crisis; more than $4 billion to health agencies; $200 million to help nursing homes cope with the challenge; $45 billion for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund; and $400 million in election assistance to help states expand early voting and vote-by-mail options.