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Thomas Gallatin / Mar. 25, 2020

Dems Stop Obstructing Emergency Relief

Senate agrees to $2 trillion emergency relief bill, the largest such effort in U.S. history.

In the early morning hours on Wednesday, Senate Democrats finally agreed to a China Virus relief deal — a package totaling a whopping $2 trillion. This is the largest stimulus bill in U.S. history by far.

“The rescue package will send $1,200 checks to most Americans at a cost of $250 billion,” The Washington Times reports. “It set up a $367 billion loan program to help small businesses make payroll and $500 billion in subsidized loans for big businesses. The aid includes $250 billion in unemployment insurance benefits, $150 billion of stimulus spending for states and local governments, and $130 billion for hospitals.”

Importantly, “the deal bars any of the payouts going to President [Donald] Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, cabinet officials, Congress members or any of their immediately family.”

Following the deal’s announcement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who had blasted congressional Democrats on Sunday for backing out of the bipartisan deal at the last minute, stated, “Democrats are finally taking ‘Yes’ for an answer. Help is on the way.” McConnell further noted that the $2 trillion relief package essentially amounted to a “wartime level of investment into our nation.”

News of the impending deal sent stock markets surging to the biggest one-day rise since 1933. This is welcome news to the millions of Americans who’ve witnessed their retirement accounts take a beating.

Trump expressed an unusually magnanimous tone following the agreement, declaring, “I also want to thank Congress, because whether or not we’re happy that they haven’t quite gotten there yet, they have been working long hours. I’m talking Republicans and Democrats — all of them, the House [and] the Senate. I want to thank Congress because they are really trying to get there, and I think they will.”

Trump also added a note of optimism, stating that he “would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter.” However, he readily acknowledged that such a goal was subject to change depending on the state of the pandemic. “We’ll be looking at a lot of things,” he noted. “We’ll also be looking at very large portions of our country, but I’ll be guided very much by Dr. [Anthony] Fauci and by [Dr.] Deborah [Birx].”

The relief bill is by no means a perfect package. It wasn’t before the Democrats’ obstruction gambit and it certainly isn’t any better after they finished with it. However, such is the nature of political gamesmanship, even during a national crisis. Essentially, what changed was that Democrats were able to gain more money for their special interests, in direct contradiction to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s preposterous lie: “Everything we’re suggesting just relates to COVID-19. It’s not about making law for the future. … It’s not changing policy except as it applies here.”

Soon, the bill will head to the House, where it is expected to pass. There have been a few representatives on both sides of the aisle who have expressed reservations with the Senate bill, but Pelosi is unlikely to derail the relief package a second time and risk further political damage.

In the end, the looming question is a troubling one: How many of the legislation’s “temporary” relief provisions will actually be permanent?


Editor’s Note: For more on today’s top news, check out our daily Executive Summary.

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