White House, Congress Agree on $2 Trillion Virus Rescue Bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House and Senate leaders of both parties announced an agreement early Wednesday on an unprecedented $2 trillion emergency bill to rush sweeping aid to businesses, workers and a health care system slammed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Top White House aide Eric Ueland announced the agreement in a Capitol hallway shortly after midnight early Wednesday, capping days of often intense haggling and mounting pressure. 

Some final pieces of the agreement need to be finalized in detailed legislative language.

Even before the deal was reached, news of the likely but elusive agreement had sent the stock market rocketing on Tuesday. The rescue package would be larger than the 2008 bank bailout and 2009 recovery act combined.

The package would give one-time direct payments to Americans — $1,200 per adult making up to $75,000 a year, and $2,400 to a married couple making up to $150,000, with $500 payments per child.

Republicans won the inclusion of an “employee retention” tax credit that’s estimated to provide $50 billion to companies that retain employees on payroll and cover 50% of workers’ paychecks. Companies would also be able to defer payment of the 6.2% Social Security payroll tax.

Schumer said he expected approval by the Republican-led Senate later in the day.

That would leave final congressional approval up to the Democratic-controlled House.

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