WASHINGTON (AP) – The White House and Senate leaders announced a bi-partisan agreement early Wednesday on an unprecedented $2 trillion emergency bill to rush sweeping aid to businesses, workers and a health care system slammed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The urgently needed pandemic response measure is the largest economic rescue measure in history and is intended as a weekslong or months-long patch for an economy spiraling into recession and a nation facing a potentially ghastly toll.
Top White House aide Eric Ueland announced the agreement in a Capitol hallway shortly after midnight, capping days of often intense haggling and mounting pressure. The deal still needs to be finalized in detailed legislative language.
The economic rescue package would give direct payments to most Americans, expand unemployment benefits, and 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. Hospitals would get significant help as well.