Senate reconvenes to negotiate $1T coronavirus package

The Senate missed a midnight deadline Friday that Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell set to pass a $1 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI

March 21 (UPI) — Senators are reconvening Saturday after missing a midnight deadline for a $1 trillion coronavirus stimulus package that could include a cash payment to individuals and assistance to businesses affected by the pandemic.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky originally set midnight as a deadline to pass the bill to mitigate the financial impact of COVID-19. He now aims to pass the legislation by Monday.

The 247-page proposal includes up to $50 billion for airlines, $8 billion for cargo air carriers, and $150 billion for other severely distressed businesses and small business loan for payroll or other obligations, capped at $10 million.

It also includes $1,200 cash payment for individuals, $2,400 for couples, with the sum increasing by $500 for each child for taxpayers beneath a certain income threshold. The legislation moves the deadline for filing income taxes to July 15.

Democrats have criticized the package as pro-business instead of “pro-worker.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described McConnell’s proposal in a letter to Democratic colleagues Friday as a “non-starter,” saying it’s “not at all pro-worker and puts corporations ahead of working people.”

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York said the bill has “virtually no input from Democrats,” and warned against bailouts for large industries.

“We have to put the workers first,” Schumer said. “We don’t want these industries to go under, but we don’t want the dollars that are put there to go to corporate executives or shareholders. They must go to the workers first.”

Washington, D.C., announced its first death from the coronavirus Friday. Across the United States, there are 19,624 cases and 260 deaths, according to the John Hopkins global tracker.


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