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Congress Strikes Deal on Massive Coronavirus Bill

After five days of negotiations, Senate Democratic and Republican leaders have settled on a compromise, $2 trillion, coronavirus relief bill, one that will pay laid off workers and compensate small businesses that have had to close.

Democrats, who had blocked votes on a Republican-offered bill earlier in the week, said those days were necessary to produce a better bill "on many counts."

According to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the bill provides the following.

1. A "Marshall plan" for hospitals, nurses, physicians and nursing homes funded with $150 billion.

2. A "workers first, unemployment compensation on steroids" plan. At least in the short term, every laid-off worker will have their salary remunerated by the federal government, he said. Unemployment is extended from 26 to 39 weeks, according to CNN.

3. Strict oversight of all loans made to corporate America. Every loan document will be made public, plus there will be an oversight board and and inspector general.

4. States and localities will get another $150 billion.

5. "Real help" for small businesses. Loans and employees paid while closed.

The bill is expected to pass Wednesday (March 25).

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.