While McConnell had his coronavirus tantrum, Schumer and Mnuchin forged ahead on improved plan

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CNBC Television / YouTube

Mitch McConnell had a hissy fit on the Senate floor Monday, forcing a second futile vote on a coronavirus package he knew Senate Democrats would oppose and that the House majority had already rejected. While he was posturing his partisan outrage, Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer was meeting with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and making “important breakthroughs that could clear the way for enactment of the plan within days,” according to The New York Times’ reporting.

Clearly sidelining McConnell is key. “We expect to have an agreement in the morning,” Schumer told reporters late Monday night, saying votes are possible as soon as Tuesday evening. “There are still a few little differences.” Mnuchin just left at “a lot of progress” had been achieved. That includes, in the Times reporting, an agreement “in principle, to ensure substantial oversight over a $500 billion economic stabilization fund that would be used to bail out distressed companies.” It won’t be Trump, who claimed in his “press conference” Monday night “Look, I’ll be the oversight. I’ll be the oversight.” That’s not happening in any way, shape, or form.

The details haven’t all been released, but the Washington Post reports that the direct payments of $1,200 to American adults with an additional $500 for children is still on the table. What’s been added, according to the Post includes an $850 billion in loans not just for businesses, but for states and cities, which had been excluded by Republicans. The Post also says it would have “large spending increases for the unemployment insurance program, as well as hospitals and health-care providers that are being overwhelmed by the crisis.”

According to additional reporting from NBC, there’s at least $100 billion for hospitals; an extension of unemployment insurance benefits for 4 months, at 100% of salary; the “phase-in” Republicans had on the direct payments to people is gone, meaning lower income people can get the full $1,200, too. That’s still apparently a one-time payment. More details will emerge throughout the morning on other support structures for lower-income people.

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