Posted by 18 March 2020
The House of Representatives passed an economic stimulus bill on Saturday. Now it’s the Senate’s turn to tackle the issue of trying to alleviate the fallout from the coronavirus. Senators are rushing to come up with ideas that can achieve bipartisan support.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell canceled the scheduled recess in order to allow the Senate to consider coronavirus aid legislation this week. However, given the complexity of the issues involved, negotiations over the legislation’s details may move into next week.
Senators are considering how to deal with the issues of the public health response, tax policy, aid to small businesses, and aid to major industries. Among the ideas being discussed are:
- Direct payments to Americans of between $1,000 and $2,000, and additional money for each child
- A $50 billion loan fund for airlines
- A $250 billion fund for small businesses
- Incentives for businesses to manufacture more medical equipment
The Senate could add these ideas to the bill passed by the House, which would then lead to a conference committee to work out differences. Or it could pass the House relief legislation and then another bill of its own aid ideas. It is unclear how the Senate will structure its bill.
While there are differences between Republicans and Democrats over details of the stimulus, there is broad support for some kind of federal help. While some Republicans are balking at the price tag of the bill, there is unlikely to be much opposition once it is formulated.
The total aid package being promoted by the White House and considered by senators could cost as much as $1 trillion.
Do you support spending $1 trillion in federal aid to stimulate the economy in the wake of the coronavirus?