WASHINGTON -- Lawmakers in the wee hours of Wednesday morning agreed on a rescue package for the U.S. economy that is the largest in the history of the nation. Democrats and Republicans came to an agreement on roughly $2 trillion meant to help workers and distressed businesses hurt by the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Here's what you need to know:
Q: What comes next?
A: The Senate is expected to vote on the bill Wednesday afternoon. The House could take it up as early as Thursday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Calif., hopes to have the chamber approve the bill by a fast procedure known as unanimous consent, which would not require most members to travel to Washington and be physically present for the vote. If any member objects, however, that procedure can't be used, which would require calling House members back to Washington for a full debate and vote.
Q: Will Americans get a check, and what are they supposed to do with it?
A: If the bill passes, many taxpayers will see one-time payments in their bank accounts as soon as early April. The move is meant to ease the financial burden many families currently have and encourage spending to bolster the economy. Not everyone will receive the same amounts. Individuals who make $75,000 or less and married couples making up to $150,000 will receive $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. Those whose incomes are higher will see smaller checks. Individuals who make $99,000 or more and couples who make $198,000 or more would not receive a check. Income levels will be based on reported 2018 taxes.
Q: What about Americans who lost jobs because of the outbreak?
A: The package includes up to four months of unemployment benefits, what Senate Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York calls "unemployment insurance on steroids." The bill expands coverage to include people who have been furloughed, gig workers and freelancers.
Q: Will this bill help distressed industries?
A: Yes, it would give up to $500 billion in loans to distressed industries. In the original proposal, Senate Republicans wanted to give the Treasury latitude to disburse the funds, including the discretion to conceal for up to six months the identities of companies that got taxpayer dollars. The final deal includes an inspector general and a five-person congressional panel to oversee the fund.