The Senate’s massive economic stimulus deal to counteract the coronavirus includes a massive bailout for New York’s transit system and a ban on aid for President Trump’s holdings and those of members of Congress.
The lesser-known provisions were stuffed into the $2 trillion package during marathon negotiations between Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Republicans, which ended early Wednesday in a deal.
Schumer’s office said Democrats won a $150 billion boost in hospital funding, a $150 billion relief fund for state and local governments and $25 billion for transit systems.
Of the transit dollars, $4.35 billion is earmarked for New York state, of which $3.8 billion is earmarked for New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Schumer’s office said.
The MTA, which operates city buses and the subway, is cutting service as demand plunges. Subway ridership is down nearly 90 percent.
The ban on aid to Trump family businesses was heralded by Schumer in an early-morning letter to colleagues. He said the $500 billion business loan program run by the Treasury Department will have an inspector general for oversight and a ban on money flowing to Trump, whose businesses brought in $461 million in revenue in 2018.
In a bullet-point list of accomplishments, Schumer wrote that the bill will “[p]rohibit businesses controlled by the President, Vice President, Members of Congress, and heads of Executive Departments from receiving loans or investments from Treasury programs.”
The final bill, which still has to be written ahead of an anticipated vote Wednesday, also boosts max unemployment pay by up to $600 a week, which Schumer said in a floor speech Tuesday means that furloughed workers can essentially get a full paycheck for four months during the crisis.
Big-ticket items in the stimulus include a Republican plan to send checks of up to $3,400 for a family of four, and to provide $375 billion in loans to small businesses, forgiven if firms don’t lay off workers.
The package’s central cash-injecting giveaway would cut checks of up to $1,200 to each taxpayer, with amounts tapered down to $600 for low-income workers and retirees and phased out for people who earned between $75,000 and $99,000 in 2018. For each child, there would be a $500 tax rebate.
A deal previously appeared close Monday, but Republicans said Democrats backed away from an initial compromise when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) unveiled a 1,400-page rival package including a list of extraneous policies ranging from environmental reforms to same-day voter registration.
Talks sent markets soaring Tuesday. The Dow gaining a record 2,113 points in a day.
In the US, more than 55,000 people are infected with the coronavirus, with New York suffering the worst outbreak by far.
Businesses around the country are shuttered, though Trump said Tuesday he hopes for a return to normalcy by Easter in April.
Republicans won inclusion of an “employee retention” tax credit that’s estimated to provide $50 billion to companies that retain employees on payroll and cover 50 percent of workers’ paychecks.
Companies would also be able to defer payment of the 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax.
Democrats pointed to gains for hospitals, additional oversight of the huge industry stabilization fund and money for cash-strapped states.
A companion appropriations package ballooned as well, growing from a $46 billion White House proposal to more than $300 billion, which dwarfs earlier disasters — including Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy combined. To provide transparency, the package is expected to create a new inspector general and oversight board for the corporate dollars, similar to what was done during the 2008 Troubled Asset Relief Program bank rescue, officials said.
With Post wires
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