Senate Republicans have reached a deal among themselves on legislation for the third coronavirus package amid growing concerns about a widespread outbreak in the United States.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced the agreement on the Senate floor, noting that Republicans would begin negotiating with Democrats on Friday.
Sixty votes would be needed to pass a coronavirus bill, meaning it will have to be bipartisan.
"I'm officially introducing the coronavirus aid relief and economic security act. The legislation takes bold acton on four major priorities that are extremely urgent and very necessary," McConnell said Thursday afternoon.
The nearly 250-page bill includes direct financial help for Americans, relief for small businesses, help for impacted industries like airlines and efforts to bolster the health care system.
Among the direct help for individuals is $1,200 for individuals who make up to $75,000. The caps would be doubled for filers. It also includes an additional $500 for a child.
“Preventing the spread of the coronavirus will take a financial toll on individuals, families and businesses. These recommendations would blunt the impact for most Americans and limit the damage to the U.S. economy," Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a statement.
The direct cash assistance, which is backed by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, earned fierce pushback among some members of the caucus. But GOP senators indicated that it had too much support to be removed from the package offered by McConnell and other top Republicans.
The bill would also delay the deadline to file 2019 taxes from April 15 to July 15.
"While this won’t solve all of the problems our nation is facing overnight, cash payments to middle- and low-income families will provide direct support as quickly as possible. The time to act is now," Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican.
The bill also includes $208 billion in loans for major industries that have been impacted by the coronavirus. Republicans dismissed the idea of providing the funding as grants, which wouldn't need to be paid back, amid resistance over the idea of providing a "bail out."
The $208 billion includes up to $50 billion for airlines, $8 billion for cargo air carriers and $150 billion for "other eligible entities."
“Let’s be crystal clear about what we are and are not doing here. We are not bailing out the airlines or other industries – period. Instead, we are allowing the Treasury Secretary to make or guarantee collateralized loans to industries whose operations the coronavirus outbreak has jeopardized," Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said in a statement.