Lawmakers reached an agreement on a $2 trillion fiscal stimulus plan early Wednesday morning that includes a “dramatic expansion” of unemployment insurance, a big boost for the health care system and direct checks to Americans.
The Senate plans to vote on the package Wednesday.
The House must also consider the package.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a Wednesday morning statement that the bipartisan Senate bill “takes us a long way down the road in meeting the needs of the American people,” but doesn’t go as far as the counteroffer she floated on Tuesday. “Thanks to the unity and insistence of Senate and House Democrats, the bill has moved a great deal closer to America’s workers.”
Ed Mills, policy analyst for Raymond James, told ThinkAdvisor on Wednesday morning that because some House Republicans oppose the Senate bill a unanimous consent vote is unlikely. “But they are working to see if they can do it as a voice vote to avoid requiring all members to return to DC and get it done ASAP.”
Details about direct checks to Americans were not provided, but The Wall Street Journal reported that talk has been of one-time checks worth $1,200 to many Americans, with $500 available to children, with the assistance capped above certain income levels.
The extended UI program increases the maximum unemployment benefit by $600 per week and ensures that laid-off workers, on average, will receive their full pay for four months, said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
“It ensures that all workers are protected whether they work for businesses small, medium or large, along with self-employed and workers in the gig economy,” Schumer said.