Republicans Roll Out $1 Trillion Senate Stimulus Plan

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate floor on Thursday. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (CN) — Senate Republicans on Thursday formally unveiled a massive economic stimulus package in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that includes hundreds of billions of dollars in loans to small businesses and industries as well as direct payments to most taxpayers.

The roughly $1 trillion package has come together over the week, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell organizing three task forces within the Republican conference to work out the details of the legislation along with the Trump administration. McConnell called the package a “significant next step” and said the Senate will remain in Washington until the stimulus passes.

“We’re here and we are ready to act as soon as an agreement with our colleagues across the aisle can be reached,” the Kentucky Republican said while introducing the proposal.

Included in the proposal are direct payments to most people who pay taxes in the United States. The payments would come in installments of $1,200 per adult — $2,400 for joint filers — and $500 per child. For people who make more than $75,000, or $150,000 for joint filers, the payments would drop, going down $5 for each $100 over that threshold.

People who make more than $99,000 and joint filers bringing in more than $198,000 would not receive any payments. Those with little or no tax liability would receive smaller payments, with a floor of $600.

Beyond the direct payments, the bill includes $300 billion in small business loans that can be used to maintain payroll during the economic downturn. The loans would be either $10 million or four times a business’ average monthly payments for payroll, mortgage and rent payments, whichever is less.

Businesses may use the loans for paid sick and family leave, health benefits, employee salaries and payments on leases and mortgages and could be forgiven if businesses use them to cover payroll costs.

The bill excludes from that allowance compensating any one employee more than $33,333 during the three-month period or family and sick leave pay already covered in a bill the Senate passed on Wednesday.

Laying off employees reduces the amount the federal government may forgive.

Finally, the legislation includes $208 billion in loans and loan guarantees to industries struggling amid the coronavirus outbreak, including $50 billion for passenger airlines and $150 billion for other businesses.

The bill also contains provisions aimed at freeing up the availability of medical supplies and treatments during the outbreak.

McConnell said Senate Republicans will now begin negotiations with Democrats to craft a bill that can pass both the House and Senate and receive Trump’s signature.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi did not immediately endorse the legislation in a statement on Thursday, saying any next step legislation should include expanded paid sick and family leave and unemployment insurance.

“To earn Democratic support in the Congress, any economic stimulus proposal must include new, strong and strict provisions that prioritize and protect workers, such as banning the recipient companies from buying back stock, rewarding executives and laying off workers,” Schumer and Pelosi said in the statement.

%d bloggers like this: