United States deal on $2 trillion stimulus package

Mnuchin hopes deal is 'very close' on $2-trillion coronavirus aid package in U.S. Senate

Coronavirus Stimulus to Include Marshall Plan For Hospitals, More Oversight

Senate leaders have struck a historic deal to inject the US economy with about $2 trillion in aid in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

"After days of intense discussions, the Senate has reached a bipartisan agreement on a historic relief package for this pandemic", said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky. "We think the bill has moved sufficiently to the side of workers", she said.

The package is worth around $2 trillion, which would make it more expensive than the 2008 bank bailout and the 2009 stimulus combined.

The Senate is slated to vote on the package later Wednesday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who proposed a more far-reaching rescue package, did not say whether she would support the Senate version.

The full text of the agreement is not expected to be available until later on Wednesday.

The Senate leaders had earlier said that a deal was close.

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The deal was announced just after 1am on Wednesday, after hours of contentious floor speeches in the Senate that appeared to show negotiations teetering on the brink.

To become law, the measure must be signed by Mr Trump.

It would be the largest rescue package ever approved by Congress and the third such effort to be passed this month. There still has to be a vote on H.R. 748, the legislative vehicle for the "CARES Act - Coronavirus Phase III".

Democrats pointed to gains for hospitals, additional oversight of the huge industry stabilization fund and money for cash-strapped states. Democrats secured concessions on all three in the final deal.

On Sunday, the Senate was slated to vote on a $1.6 trillion bill containing $75 billion for hospitals across the country, $1,200 checks to every American making below $75,000 a year, and financial aid to businesses that have been forced to indefinitely shut down in the interest of containing the virus' spread.

$250 billion will be set aside for direct payments to Americans, reports CNN.

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Unemployment insurance would also be bolstered to increase payments and extend the benefit to those who typically do not qualify such as gig economy workers, furloughed employees and freelancers.

The plan would expand existing unemployment by 13 weeks, meaning people who are nearing the point where they would max out their access to the program would have their time extended, the aide said.

The package includes a direct payment to Americans and a half-trillion-dollar fund for US corporations, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"State, local, and tribal governments that are propping up local health systems on their own were originally left out of the Republican bill entirely".

Creates a Treasury Department Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery to provide oversight of Treasury loans and a Pandemic Response Accountability Committee to protect taxpayer dollars.

A spokesman for Schumer's office told Reuters that under the proviso, businesses owned by Vice President Mike Pence and heads of the executive branch would also be barred from receiving Treasury department loans and investments in the aid program. Other last-minute issues could also delay a deal.

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