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What's in the Biggest Economic Stimulus Package in American History, and What Isn't

03-25-2020
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A vote on Congress' massive relief bill to help keep the economy running is expected today.  Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says the president will "absolutely" sign the deal.

Asian markets rallied when the deal was announced; that on top of huge 'pop' in the Dow Tuesday of more than 2,000 points on news an agreement was at hand.

The rescue package would send $1,200 checks to most Americans, expand unemployment benefits and provide a $367 billion program for small businesses to keep making payroll while workers are forced to stay home.

It also includes $500 billion for larger industries, including airlines and hospitals.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said, "Good news for families all across America, at last, we have a deal."

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said: "To all Americans, I say help is on the way."

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The deal came in spite of a push by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to load it up with what one senator called  "a Disneyworld wish list of funding for left-wing causes.

Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) told members of the House Democratic caucus, "This is a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision."

Pelosi reportedly pursued demands on a range of liberal pet policies like unions, the Green New Deal, student loan forgiveness, federalizing elections, immigration, mandates on business and Obamacare.

But after a scathing response, Pelosi finally gave in.

The biggest economic stimulus package in modern American history comes as President Trump says he wants to reopen parts of the economy by Easter.

"Easter is our timeline, what a great timeline that would be," Trump said. 

3.4 million people filed for unemployment last week, nearly five times more than the highest week ever.  

And Trump argued on Fox News that closing down businesses for a prolonged period could present another health threat.

"You're going to lose more people by putting a country into a massive recession or depression. You're going to have suicides by the thousands," he said.   

Economists say the US is entering a sharp recession, with some projecting that the gross domestic product could shrink by almost one third in the second quarter. 
                
But health care experts warn the country isn't anywhere near ready to drop quarantines and return to normal. 
                
Dr. Anthony Fauci of the White House Coronavirus Task Force said, "No one is going to want to tone down things when you see what's going on in a place like New York City. I mean, that's just you know, good public health practice and common sense."

Worldwide cases number more than 428,000. One of the latest is Britain's Prince Charles. 

In New York City, the infection rate is doubling every three days, and the White House says anyone who has recently been in New York should self-quarantine for 14 days. 

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