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The long-awaited Senate vote on the Coronavirus Stimulus Compromise Bill is finally imminent Wednesday evening, Fox News announced, and the final text of the bill currently circulating on Capitol Hill omits a host of articles. of the President of the Chamber, Nancy Pelosi. version of legislation.
Although nothing is yet defined, the Senate is expected to begin debating an amendment by Senator Ben Sasse, R-Neb., Shortly. The amendment would prevent people from receiving more new unemployment benefits than they would have received at work; the amendment would require 60 votes and should fail.
Then a vote will start on the final pass, requiring a simple majority.
The final text of the bill, obtained by Fox News, will use 2019 tax returns, if available, or 2018 tax returns to assess income to determine the amount of assistance that individuals receive. Those who have not filed a tax return can use Form SSA-1099, Declaration of Social Security Benefits or Form RRB-1099, Declaration of Equivalent Social Security Benefits.
The bill would provide Americans with one-time direct payments of $ 1,200 per adult, which would represent up to $ 75,000 per year, and $ 2,400 for a married couple, up to $ 150,000, with $ 500 per child.
No more mandatory advance voting notices, harvesting ballots, the requirements imposed on federal agencies to review their use of “minority banks” and the provisions limiting airline carbon emissions – a Pelosi requirement: even Saikat Chakrabarti, the former chief of staff of the representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and author of the Green New Deal, described as “ridiculous”.
“What is not in the Senate bill on bipartite coronaviruses: Pelosi’s outrageous wish list,” wrote GOP national spokesperson Elizabeth Harrington. “0 mention of ‘diversity’. 0 mention of ’emissions’. 0 mention of ‘early voting’. 0 mention of ‘climate change’. Good!”
In the final text of the bill, $ 25 million would still be allocated to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC President Trump, speaking at the White House Coronavirus briefing earlier Wednesday , said he understood that the provision was necessary because the Democrats asked for concessions in order to pass the stimulus bill.
Pelosi was the first to claim the money in his own invoice, which, according to Republicans, was full of improper payments for well-connected special interests in times of national crisis.
The Kennedy Center has published a statement Wednesday evening saying he was “extraordinarily grateful that Congress recognized the unique status of our institution and included funding in its legislation to allow us to reopen our doors and our stages as soon as we can.”
Aside from direct payments to most Americans, the bill would increase unemployment benefits and provide a $ 367 billion program for small businesses to continue to pay while workers are forced to work. stay home.
The move came as stocks posted their first consecutive gains in weeks, but much of Wednesday’s rally waned as the hitch developed in the Senate. The market is down almost 27% since the creation of a record a month ago.
In the middle of the debate, Sen. Bernie Sanders said he could try to torpedo the Senate stimulus package. Republican senators have dropped their objections to what they called a “massive drafting error” related to unemployment benefits.
“In my opinion, it would be outrageous to prevent working class Americans from receiving emergency unemployment assistance included in this legislation,” said Sanders in a statement, also posted on social media.
“Unless these Republican senators drop their objections, I am ready to suspend this bill until more conditions are met. $ 500 billion social welfare fund to ensure that any business receiving financial assistance under this law does not fire workers, reduce wages or benefits, send overseas jobs, or pay wages to the working poor, “he continued.
Sanders arrived in the Senate Wednesday evening around 9:30 p.m. AND said he was concerned that the administration would be able to “spend $ 500 billion in virtually any way it wanted” in under the law. In fact, the administration would not have such unilateral control.
“They are very upset that a person who earns $ 10.12 an hour ends up with a pay check for four more months than last week,” said Sanders. “Oh my god, the universe is falling apart!”
Ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, added: “Our proposal was not a” drafting error. “It did not come out at the last minute. lead to the end of Western civilization. “Wyden said the Democrats had an agreement with the White House and key Senate Republicans on the matter.
A single senator’s objection would prevent the Senate from quickly passing the bill by unanimous consent, although it was possible that the House could adopt the bill by voice vote or roll call. Fox News is told that lawmakers are considering approving the bill by voice vote, in which senators in the chamber shout “yes” or “no”, the biggest winner.
Senators’ concern Lindsey Graham, Tim Scott, RS.C., Sasse, and Rick Scott, R-Fla., Is that the current version of the bill could pay workers more unemployment benefits than they would earn. in wages, by pasting a payment of $ 600 per week in addition to regular benefits which are calculated as a percentage of income. This could further disrupt the job market, lawmakers warned.
Democrats and economists countered that the aim of the new unemployment benefit is, in fact, to make the wages of whole citizens, and that companies could simply raise wages to be competitive and attract workers.
“The strange thing about this hypothetical ‘generous unemployment benefit will discourage people from entering critical sectors’ is … that they could just raise wages?” Alex Godofsky wrote on Twitter. “Amazon has already raised wages. Like, it doesn’t matter if wages – and prices – go up for a while. That’s good.”
Others noted that unemployment benefits are increasing would expire in summer. In an article titled “Republican Senators’ Objection to Expanded Unemployment Benefits Makes Little Sense,” Josh Barro began by noting that “these are unemployment benefits, and you must generally have been laid off to claim them.” .
“We will continue to have measures to mitigate the viruses that create mass unemployment for a significant period, and even after these measures can be relaxed in much of the country, it will take some time for employers to re-ingest all previously laid off workers, “wrote Barro. “In fact, it is likely that the closings will persist long enough for the enhanced benefits to be extended. If we are in a situation by July where all the closings are over and the employers are impatiently hiring and our biggest concern is too many people don’t want to go back to work, I will be delighted and very surprised. “
Later Wednesday, the Republicans agreed to withdraw their objections to speeding up the stimulus vote, as long as there was first a vote on the Sasse amendment to cap unemployment benefits at 100% of salary.
Also in the evening, Pelosi said that unanimous consent was a non-departure from the House, and suggested that a quick visit to the lower house could be unrealistic. Pelosi asked members to have at least 24 hours to review the text of the bill once it is available.
“It won’t work,” she told reporters shortly after 7:30 p.m. ET, referring to unanimous consent. “The Republicans told us it was not possible according to their statement. … What I would like to see – because this is a $ 2 trillion bill – I would like to see a good debate on the floor. “
Meanwhile, the White House projected confidence. Insistently optimistic, President Trump said about the biggest public health emergency in anyone’s life: “I don’t think this will end up being a hard test” and anticipated a boom in the economy ” like a rocket “when it’s over. Still, he implored Congress late in the day to move on to critical aid without further ado.
The package is intended to relieve an economy that is turning into a recession or worse and a nation facing a grim toll of an infection that has killed nearly 20,000 people worldwide. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asked how long aid would keep the economy afloat, said, “We have planned for three months. I hope we won’t need it for three months. “
Highlighting the scale of the effort, the bill funds a response with a price equivalent to half the size of the entire annual federal budget of $ 4 trillion.
“A fight has arrived on our shores,” said Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. “We didn’t look for it, we didn’t want it, but now we’re going to win it.”
One of the last issues to close in the bill was about $ 500 billion in guaranteed and subsidized loans to larger industries, including a fight for airline generosity, since the Democrats wanted to limit their emissions. of carbon. Hospitals would also receive significant aid.
“There is quite a concern in our country that if we give the tens of billions of dollars to the airlines, we could at least have a shared value on what happens to the environment,” said Pelosi. said tuesday.
But support for Democrats’ push on climate change in the stimulus bill withered on Tuesday. Former Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti wrote on Twitter in response to Pelosi’s comments: “I helped write the #GreenNewDeal and I think it’s ridiculous. Even the smallest increase in emission standards does nothing even significant to stave off climate change and @GOP leverage to get rid of real help for workers. Solve the problem at hand. Hospitals would also receive significant aid. “
Chad Pergram and Jason Donner of Fox News, and Hillary Vaughn of Fox Business Network, as well as the Associated Press, contributed to this report.