Sunday, March 22, 2020

Senate races to finish negotiations on massive coronavirus stimulus package ... that now tops $2 TRILLION

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Senate and White House negotiators emerged from a slew of private meetings Saturday confident that they were close to an agreement on a sweeping relief package for the coronavirus, which is still slated for a vote Monday.
Senators from both parties indicated they were nearing the end of marathon talks on a $1 trillion-plus package that would attempt to stem the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, which threatens to halt virtually all U.S. commerce for weeks, if not months.
During a rare Saturday session at the Capitol, top Republicans and Democrats worked to narrow the list of sticking points on issues like unemployment insurance and airline relief as they sought to comply with the aggressive deadline from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
McConnell himself was hopeful about the prospects for an agreement, telling reporters: “I think we’re clearly going to get there.“
The Kentucky Republican has instructed both sides to settle on the terms of the legislation by Saturday afternoon, after failing to do so after more than 12 hours of talks on Friday, splitting on key issues such as how to get financial help directly to Americans hurt by the crisis.
“Basically, we know the general contours of what this is going to look like,” said Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.), as he left a closed-door GOP luncheon. “Now it’s just a question of plugging in some of the policy, and figuring out where the numbers are.”
“The Democrats are getting some of the things they’ve asked for,” said Thune, the No. 2 Senate Republican, ticking off priorities like immediate relief to individuals, protections for health care workers, and shoring up small businesses. “They’re getting what they wanted on unemployment insurance.”
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