March 24, 2020
Congressional Leaders Hint Passage Of $2 Trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Bill Is 'Close'

On Tuesday morning, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi indicated that a deal was imminent between the House of Representatives and the Senate regarding a massive $2 trillion stimulus package that's intended to help bolster the United States economy, reports CNBC.

Pelosi stated she had "real optimism" that a deal would be secured "within a few hours." This new information comes as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told news outlets late Monday that an agreement was expected to be reached between Senate Democrats and Republicans on Tuesday.

The securing of this new deal did not come without its challenges. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin — who is acting as the representative of the White House in these negotiations — has spent the past four days meeting with members of Congress to secure support for the stimulus bill. On Monday, he met with Sen. Schumer six times, according to CNBC.

"There are still a few little differences. Neither of us think they are in any way going to get in the way of a final agreement," Schumer told reporters just before midnight on Monday.

However, most of the Democrats' biggest problems with the bill were resolved, leading lawmakers and analysts to be confident the deal should go through. Among these are the establishment of an inspector general and an oversight committee for the $500 billion fund Republicans want to set up to bail out large corporations. Previously, the fund's management would have relied solely on Secretary Mnuchin and the Treasury Department. Additionally, Sen. Schumer stated that "workers first and a 'Marshall Plan' for hospitals" are main focuses of the bill, something that was a big difference between the Democrats' and Republicans' versions of the stimulus package.

The support does appear to be on both sides of the aisle. An aide for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated they expected the deal to be passed Tuesday morning, although he has yet to schedule a vote.

For her part, Pelosi seemed pleased with the compromises made to ensure the bill's passage. She told CNBC that she was "very happy" the Senate took some of her suggestions about the fund's oversight. Democrats in the House presented their own version of a stimulus package, which — while unlikely to pass — did indicate some of their priorities. She said on Tuesday that if the parties can compromise and have "unanimous consent," she expected the bill to pass quickly in both the House and Senate.

Secretary Mnuchin contacted the president on Monday and told him Congress was "very, very close to an agreement," to which he responded positively, meaning that any bill that passes Congress is expected to be signed into law. The mere potential of the bill being passed on Tuesday slightly bolstered the economy already. As rumors began circling about the agreement, major U.S. stock markets rose more than 5 percent Tuesday morning.