Top members of Congress and the White House appeared close to a deal Tuesday to ease the economic fallout due to the spread of COVID-19.
“It’s the most serious threat to Americans’ health in over a century,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The $2 trillion package would provide much-needed relief to Americans suffering the economic brunt of COVID-19.
“Last night, I thought we were on the five yard line. Right now we’re on the two,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “At this point of the few outstanding issues, I don’t see any that can’t be overcome in the next few hours.”
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are working to pass a rescue package that would give small businesses a boost and provide direct payments to most Americans.
“If we get this package, we’ll be setting the stage for a good rebound in the second half of this year,” said Larence Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council.
A Republican-backed measure previously stalled due to Democrats’ concerns about guaranteed loans to large businesses.
As concerns about an economic disaster grow, President Trump on Tuesday said he’d like to “re-open” the country by Easter during a Fox News town hall.
“We’ve never closed the country before and we’ve had some pretty bad flus, we’ve had some pretty bad viruses,” Trump said. “We have to get our country back to work. Our country wants to be back at work.”
Many public health officials disagree and have called for stricter restrictions on public interaction.
“The notion that we’re doing damage to our economy, of course, it is being hurt. The number of unemployment claims may reach historic record-breaking highs, but the fact is: If don’t deal with the underlying cause of our economic chaos — and that is this virus and deal with it effectively — sadly, we’re going to see the economic situation in this country deteriorate even more in the future,” said Sen. Dick Durbin.