Washington — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has introduced emergency stimulus legislation to address the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, the third phase of the legislative response to the pandemic that has killed thousands around the world and tanked financial markets.
The “phase three” bill unveiled by Senate Republicans on Thursday includes rebates of $ 1,200 for most individuals who reported less than $ 75,000 on their 2018 tax returns, or $ 2,400 per couple who filed their taxes jointly and made less than $ 150,000.
Another $ 500 would be added for every dependent child. Low-income Americans with at least $ 2,500 of qualified income get a smaller benefit of $ 600, or $ 1,200 for couples.
The payments would be gradually phased out for individuals with income between $ 75,000 and $ 99,000, at which point payments cut off.
In a speech on the Senate floor Thursday afternoon, McConnell said he hoped this “bold new proposal” would receive “bipartisan respect and mutual urgency.” He added that discussions between Republicans and Democrats about this legislation needed to occur on a “member level,” and said that Republican committee chairmen would begin speaking with their Democratic counterparts tomorrow.
“These are urgent discussions. They need to happen at a member level and they need to happen starting right now,” McConnell said.
McConnell also said that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow would be traveling to the Capitol on Friday to work with both parties on reaching an agreement.
McConnell explained Senate Republicans’ approach in a speech previewing the proposal on the Senate floor Thursday morning, laying out “four pillars” of the massive spending package: relief for small businesses, cash assistance for taxpayers, loans to businesses in major industries and resources to combat the virus itself. Republican senators met over lunch on Capitol Hill to hammer out the particulars.
Congressional efforts to address the impacts of the coronavirus come amid the first indications that the outbreak is prompting widespread job loss on a scale not seen since the 2008 financial crisis. The number of people Department of Labor. In the week ending on March 14, the number of jobless claims was 281,000, an increase of 70,000 from the previous week.shot up last week, an increase that is “clearly attributable to impacts from the COVID-19 virus,” according to the
As the pandemic shuts down business across the county, the surge in newly laid off workers isstates’ unemployment websites. In Ohio alone, more than 48,000 people applied for jobless benefits during the first two days of this week — 26 times the amount from the week before.
As of Thursday evening, there were over 12,500 confirmed cases of the coronavirus across every state in the U.S., and more than 175 people have died.
The Senate Republicans’ bill largely squares with the Trump administration’s request. In a memo on Wednesday, the Treasury Department laid out what it hoped to see in the bill, asking for two rounds of direct cash payments to taxpayers, worth $ 250 billion each. The first payment would be made April 6, and the second would come on May 18 if the crisis hasn’t abated.
On Thursday morning, McConnell said the cash infusion “would complement unemployment insurance and could be put toward immediate needs during this crisis.”
“For Americans who are still working, the money would provide some extra certainty in this uniquely uncertain time,” he added.
McConnell said some of the small business loans would be forgiven if used to retain workers or cover basic operational expenses. “The portions of these funds that small businesses use on core expenses such as paying workers and paying their rent or mortgage will convert into grants they will not need to pay back,” he said.
Senate Majority Whip John Thune indicated to reporters that lawmakers would work through the weekend with hopes of finalizing the bill by early next week.
“We’re going to start the negotiation with the Democrats, and we got a number of our members will be involved with that, hopefully through the weekend, and hopefully we can bring closure to it through the weekend and in early next week is my hope,” Thune said.
McConnell had tasked three working groups to develop the proposed phase three legislation, which serves as the jumping-off point for negotiations with Democrats. After the text of the proposal emerged, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who has called for a “Marshall Plan” to address the crisi, spoke on the Senate floor.
“We will look at it and read it tonight. But from what I’m told, it provides a bailout for a number of industries. Again, we have to put the workers first,” Schumer said, who earlier called for both sides to come together “from the get-go so any final product can pass as swiftly as possible.”
At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, President Trump said during awith members of the White House coronavirus task force that Republicans and Democrats in Congress were “pulling together.”
“I hope everything’s going good on the Hill. Maybe I shouldn’t say this until I check out what’s going on because you never know,” Mr. Trump said.
Mr. Trump, which provides free testing and paid leave for certain workers, late Wednesday evening, hours after it was passed in the Senate by a bipartisan vote of 90 to 8.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said that the House will not return to session “until we are in a position to vote on the third piece of emergency legislation.” The House was previously scheduled to return on March 23.
Sara Cook, Alan He and Irina Ivanova contributed to this report.