Senate Republicans unveil $1 trillion economic stimulus plan

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U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) arrives at a Senate Republican luncheon at Hart Senate Office Building March 19, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The Senate is back in session today as Republicans and Democrats work behind the scenes to produce “phase three” of the coronavirus response bill to combat the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) — Senate Republicans on Thursday formally rolled out a $1 trillion economic stimulus plan intended to deliver critical aid to US businesses and the American public.

It’s a move that sets the stage for negotiations to begin in earnest between Republicans and Democrats in an effort to reach a bipartisan deal to help an economy hit hard by the rapid spread of coronavirus.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the plan “a bold legislative proposal,” in remarks on the Senate floor, saying that he was “officially introducing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.”

McConnell described the major contours of the proposal by saying that it will deliver “first, direct financial help for the American people. Second, rapid relief for small businesses and their employees. Third, significant steps to stabilize our economy and protect jobs. And fourth more support for the brave health care professionals and their patients who are fighting the coronavirus on the frontlines.”

The $1 trillion emergency economic aid proposal comes in response to coronavirus pandemic and would include direct payments to Americans under a certain income threshold, $200 billion in loans to airlines and distressed industry sectors, and $300 billion in forgivable bridge loans for small businesses.

The proposal, a draft of which was obtained by CNN, underscores the scale of the economic crisis now facing individuals and businesses across the country amid the accelerating pandemic and addresses bolstering health care resources, student loans and aid, business tax provisions and temporary authority.

The proposal, however, is just an opening bid as the Senate attempts to address the coronavirus outbreak. It was drafted by Senate Republicans and the Trump administration, with no input from Democrats.

At the heart of the proposal is hundreds of billions of dollars directed toward “recovery rebates” of up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples beneath a certain income threshold.

The proposal also includes $300 billion to used for loans to small businesses, as well as private nonprivate organizations. The program would be structured so businesses could take out loans from banks and lenders that would be guaranteed by the SBA. Those loans must be used, according to the proposal, for to pay for salaries, mortgage payments, other debt obligations and payroll support including paid sick, medical and family leave, as well as health care benefits.

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