Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Senate Agrees to $2 Trillion Stimulus Package

Politics
An ambulance sits outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, on March 23, 2020, as the Senate negotiated a relief package in response to the outbreak of COVID-19. SAUL LOEB / AFP via Getty Images

In the predawn hours, U.S. Senators struck a deal to try to salvage the economy from the novel coronavirus. The enormous $2 trillion package is designed to protect workers, families and businesses from the costly effects of needing to shut down businesses to protect communal health.


Marathon negotiations led to the agreement, which dwarfs the $800 billion stimulus passed during the 2008 financial crisis. This new stimulus bill is one of the most expensive and far-reaching in American history, according to The New York Times.

"This is not a moment of celebration — but of necessity," said Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, as CNN reported.

The agreement will send money directly to most Americans. Under the plan, $250 billion will be for direct payments to individuals and families, $350 billion in small business loans, $250 billion in unemployment insurance benefits, and $500 billion in loans for distressed companies, according to CNN.

The bill will send $1,200 to most Americans and $2,400 to married couples earning less than $150,000. It will also provide $500 for each child. The payments will scale down by income, phasing out entirely for individuals who make more than $99,000 and joint filers without children earning over $198,000, as CNN reported.

The bill will also help people who have lost their jobs due to the novel coronavirus. As The Washington Post reported, unemployment claims have spiked, inundating a system ill-equipped to handle a deluge of applicants. The stimulus package will increase unemployment insurance benefits, expand eligibility and offer workers an additional $600 a week for four months on top of what state unemployment programs currently pay.

"It will put money into the hands of those who need it so much, because they have lost their jobs through no fault of their own," said Schumer, as the Los Angeles Times reported.

"This legislation is urgently needed to bolster the economy, provide cash injections and liquidity and stabilize financial markets to get us through a difficult and challenging period in the economy facing us right now," said Larry Kudlow, President Donald Trump's chief economic adviser, at a White House briefing on Tuesday, as CNN reported.

One of the sticking points that torpedoed the previous stimulus package was the $500 billion that will be allotted for distressed companies. Under the previous bill, the Treasury had the discretion to disburse the funds without needing to disclose for up to six months which companies got taxpayer dollars, as the Los Angeles Times reported.

The new bill, which will still provide payments to many large polluters, with 10 percent of it going to airlines, will now have oversight for how the money is allotted, according to CNN. The Trump administration agreed to an oversight board and the creation of an inspector general position to review how the money is spent.

"Every loan document will be public and made available to Congress very quickly, so we can see where the money is going, what the terms are and if it's fair to the American people," Schumer said on the Senate floor Wednesday, according to The Washington Post.

The bill is expected to pass the Senate around noon and then has to go to the House, which is not in session. Some House Democrats have already expressed reservations about it.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted that despite "vague statements," no one had seen text of the legislation that "seems to give a *HALF TRILLION DOLLARS* away to big corporations, w/ few worker protections."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Earth's atmosphere. NASA

By Jeremy Deaton

You may have heard about the hole in the ozone layer, which hovers over Antarctica. It has shrunk over time thanks to policies that curbed the use of ozone-depleting chemicals. In the nearly 40 years that NASA has kept track, it has never been smaller. That's the good news.

Read More Show Less
Garden interns learn plant and weed identification at the Cheyenne River Youth Project in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. Cheyenne River Youth Project / Facebook

By Stephanie Woodard

Many Americans are now experiencing an erratic food supply for the first time. Among COVID-19's disruptions are bare supermarket shelves and items available yesterday but nowhere to be found today. As you seek ways to replace them, you can look to Native gardens for ideas and inspiration.

Read More Show Less
Although considered safe overall, aloe vera does carry the risk of making some skin rashes worse. serezniy / Getty Images

By Kristeen Cherney

Skin inflammation, which includes swelling and redness, occurs as an immune system reaction. While redness and swelling can develop for a variety of reasons, rashes and burns are perhaps the most common symptoms. More severe skin inflammation can require medications, but sometimes mild rashes may be aided with home remedies like aloe vera.

Read More Show Less
There are plenty of things you can do every day to help reduce greenhouse gases and your carbon footprint to make a less harmful impact on the environment. ipopba / Getty Images

By Katie Lambert and Sarah Gleim

The United Nations suggests that climate change is not just the defining issue of our time, but we are also at a defining moment in history. Weather patterns are changing and will threaten food production, and sea levels are rising and could cause catastrophic flooding across the globe. Countries must make drastic actions to avoid a future with irreversible damage to major ecosystems and planetary climate.

Read More Show Less
Petri Oeschger / Moment / Getty Images

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

Sleep is one of the pillars of optimal health.

Read More Show Less

Junjira Konsang / Pixabay

By Matt Casale

For many Americans across the country, staying home to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) means adapting to long-term telework for the first time. We're doing a lot more video conferencing and working out all the kinks that come along with it.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Looking south from New York City's Central Park. Ajay Suresh / Wikipedia / CC BY 4.0

By Richard leBrasseur

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered humans' relationship with natural landscapes in ways that may be long-lasting. One of its most direct effects on people's daily lives is reduced access to public parks.

Read More Show Less