• Thomas Parker

Politicians fight over $2 trillion coronavirus spending package

Updated: Apr 3, 2020

On Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said they were on the brink of a deal regarding the $2 trillion spending bill, touted as the economic solution from Congress to the novel coronavirus.

After four days of negotiations, Democrats had voted to block action on the plan on Sunday and on Monday, demanding stronger protections for workers and greater restrictions on what businesses could do with the free federal money, calling it a Republican "slush fund."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted Democrats on Monday morning, calling their demands a "Democratic wish list" that included tax deductions for solar and wind energy companies, new emissions standards for airlines, and a requirement for businesses to pay employees a $15 per-hour minimum wage.

"Democrats won't let us fund hospitals or save small businesses unless they get to dust off the 'Green New Deal,'" McConnell said on the Senate floor Monday morning. "Are you kidding me?"

"I'm in my office with the president's secretary of the Treasury, the president's liaison, getting things done," Schumer said in response. Schumer then attempted to block Senator Susan Collins from speaking, and the senator from Maine became visibly angry.

"Unbelievable. The Democratic leader objected to my even being able to speak this morning. Is that what we've come to?" she said.

In principle, the two sides have reached an agreement over a $500 billion fund that would be used to offer interest-free loans to financially distressed companies as a result of the virus.

A final agreement is expected to come on Tuesday or Wednesday.

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