Early on Wednesday, the U.S. Senate and the White House reached an agreement on a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill aimed at providing economic relief for workers and businesses as the virus has shut down daily American life; plus, more of today’s top stories in conservative politics.
Coronavirus stimulus package: most important provisions
Shortly after 2 AM on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced: “At last, we have a deal. After days of intense discussions, the Senate has reached a bipartisan agreement on a historic relief package for this pandemic.”
Republicans negotiated for days fending off attempts by Democrats to insert their liberal wish list that was unrelated to the coronavirus into the legislation, and it appears the White House and US Senators have finally agreed upon a deal to help fight off an economic meltdown.
Economic relief for most Americans
According to reports, the proposed legislation will bring economic relief to most people, with an estimated 90% of Americans receiving checks.
As currently proposed, individual Americans will receive $1,200, married couples will get $2,400, as well as $500 for each child under the age of 17.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called the bill “unemployment compensation on steroids.”
Economic relief for businesses
The bipartisan deal on a coronavirus stimulus package will also provide relief to a number of and companies, corporations, and small businesses, who will receive financial assistance from the government.
$100 billion will be allocated to hospitals, $350 billion to small businesses; $500 billion will be allocated towards guaranteed, subsidized loans to larger industries and corporations, which includes airlines, air cargo, and cruise lines; $150 billion for state and local stimulus funds.
$500 billion will also be allocated toward guaranteed, subsidized loans to larger industries.
Boost for unemployment insurance
Federal funding under the stimulus deal will increase the amount states give to unemployed persons by $600 per week.
Under the increase, on average, laid-off workers will receive their full pay for four months.
In addition, unemployment benefits will be extended to people who typically do not qualify, such as gig economy workers, freelancers, and furloughed employees.
DOJ: Coronavirus crimes can be charged as terrorist act
The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a memo to state attorneys and heads of law enforcement around the country announcing that anyone who deliberately spreads the coronavirus for “purposeful exposure and infection.”
Already, at least 4 individuals have been charged with making a terrorist threat in a variety of activities of purposely spreading germs which includes willfully coughing on others or licking items that others would come into contact with.
The DOJ wants the American public to know that coronavirus is no joke and will not treat incidents as a laughing matter, but as terrorist crimes.
Trump’s job approval rating and handling of coronavirus soars
In the latest Gallup poll, President Donald Trump’s approval rating over the handling of the coronavirus outbreak has climbed to 60%.
In the same poll, President Trump’s job approval rating has climbed by 5 points, moving up to 49%, which matches a previous number that marks the highest approval point of his presidency.
Trump wants to reopen economy by Easter, but flexible
President Donald Trump has been widely lambasted by mainstream media over comments he made during a virtual town hall with Fox from the White House Rose Garden on Tuesday. Trump said he would love to reopen the nation and get people back to work by Easter to restart the US economy.
“I’d love to have it open by Easter, OK?” Trump said. “I would love to have it open by Easter. I will tell you that right now.”
“It’s such an important day for other reasons, but I’ll make it an important day for this, too,” the President added. “I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter.”
The timeframe coincides with the 15-day period of recommendation social distancing that the White House issued on March 16 titled: “15 days to slow the spread.”
Critics immediately pounced on the president, alleging his desire to restart the economy by Easter goes against warnings from health experts.
Government flexible on reopening the country
However, the Trump administration has already pointed out that re-opening the country by Easter is simply a goal and that the government remains flexible.
The White House says it isn’t going to undermine the advice of health experts nor overrule social-distancing guidelines set by state and local officials.
At the same time, Trump asserted that “we have to get our country back to work.” The president warned that we may see “suicides by the thousands” if residents suffer continued isolation and economic despair.