U.S. Lawmakers Pushing Ahead With Third Coronavirus Aid Package

U.S. lawmakers were rushing ahead on Thursday with forging a massive economic stimulus measure to counter the destructive impact of the coronavirus, with the Senate’s leader vowing not to let the chamber adjourn until the mission is accomplished, Reuters reported.

Although a few lawmakers expressed doubts about the yawning sums under discussion, with one Republican warning this week against “shoveling money out of a helicopter,” the Senate’s majority Republicans said they hoped to have a proposal agreed on with President Donald Trump’s administration by sometime on Thursday.

Only then did they plan to start negotiations with Democrats. Top Democrats said that was backward. Both House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the fastest route to finishing a package would be to have the leaders of both parties and chambers in talks with the White House.

Schumer has proposed his own $750 million plan of action that would expand jobless benefits, help small businesses and fund childcare for healthcare workers.

The Trump administration is pushing for a package of some $1.3 trillion in aid to help businesses and individual Americans devastated by the virus.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, said the Senate would remain in session until it finishes the legislation and sends it to the House. “I would recommend senators stay around, close,” he said on the Senate floor. “We are moving rapidly because the situation demands it.”

Congress already passed an $8.3 billion measure earlier this month to combat the spread of the new coronavirus and develop vaccines for the highly contagious disease that has infected almost 8,000 people in the United States and killed at least 145. The outbreak has paralyzed large sectors of the U.S. economy and led to fears of a global recession, Reuters added.

On Wednesday, lawmakers approved and Trump signed another $105 billion-plus plan to limit the damage from the coronavirus pandemic through free testing, paid sick leave and expanded safety-net spending.

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