25 votes

White House, Senate agree to $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package

37 comments

  1. [8]
    gpl
    Link
    From the details we have now, it seems like the Senate Democrats won some major concessions here and now the bill seems actually decent. It remains to be seen what happens to it in negotiations...

    From the details we have now, it seems like the Senate Democrats won some major concessions here and now the bill seems actually decent. It remains to be seen what happens to it in negotiations with the house. The House bill that Pelosi put out is... interesting to say the least. I'm not sure what the strategy was in including so many provisions not directly related to the outbreak - I hope it was just to have negotiation leverage but we will see. I'm pretty liberal but it does read like a liberal wishlist and, while I agree with many of the policies, it will make bipartisan agreement and support difficult to obtain.

    The one huge provision I think that should absolutely remain in is the provision for mail-in voting for the general election (minus the odd "ballot harvesting" provision that's been included). Not sure what Congress's authority is with mandating that though since elections are left to the states. I imagine they cannot force it beyond withholding funding if states don't agree, but we will see.

    19 votes
    1. [7]
      Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      If most states come out of this pandemic having enacted legislation to allow mail in voting, that could potentially be a huge change in years to come. It eliminates a ton of obstacles that...

      The one huge provision I think that should absolutely remain in is the provision for mail-in voting for the general election

      If most states come out of this pandemic having enacted legislation to allow mail in voting, that could potentially be a huge change in years to come. It eliminates a ton of obstacles that discourage people from voting. There's still ways they can fuck it up, but on the whole, I think it would be a significant positive change.

      19 votes
      1. Parliament
        Link Parent
        The thought of national mail-in voting has seemed like such a distant goal for so long. Of course they're giving out a historic amount of cash, but mail-in voting is a radical change compared to...

        The thought of national mail-in voting has seemed like such a distant goal for so long. Of course they're giving out a historic amount of cash, but mail-in voting is a radical change compared to the status quo. Fingers crossed.

        8 votes
      2. [5]
        Tum
        Link Parent
        How likely is it that there could be voter fraud and how would you guard against such threats? Do you hash a government ID and if two ID's are the same then you discount them? Could an alturnative...

        How likely is it that there could be voter fraud and how would you guard against such threats? Do you hash a government ID and if two ID's are the same then you discount them?

        Could an alturnative be for election officials go from house to house to count the vote instead?

        We have shyed away from electronic voting in the past for good reasons. Although a poor alturnative is better than suspending elections!

        1. [3]
          Omnicrola
          Link Parent
          The incidence of voter fraud in the US is incredibly low. To the point where it's not even worth worrying about (at least with current methods). To be clear, I'm not advocating for electronic...

          The incidence of voter fraud in the US is incredibly low. To the point where it's not even worth worrying about (at least with current methods). To be clear, I'm not advocating for electronic voting, and I am very very much against online voting. There risks are far too high to compensate for the cost savings and efficiency improvements.

          For mail in votes I think it should be a literal piece of paper, mail it in, have it scanned just like you would if you where in person. Ones that didn't scan could be mailed back if it where before the deadline. Paper trails, observers, and audit trails maintained the whole way.

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            Tum
            Link Parent
            Yeah, I am also very much against online voting; however, I am also concerned about the ballot being secret. To maintain anonymity you'd need a machine to translate a voter's secret identity to:...

            Yeah, I am also very much against online voting; however, I am also concerned about the ballot being secret. To maintain anonymity you'd need a machine to translate a voter's secret identity to: a) their address/ID and b) their vote (or, if you prefer, that they voted at all).

            If this system was open source and had sufficient cryptography I might have more faith in it. We need to take caution; as while these events may be unprecedented, the precedent they set may last long after the event.

            1 vote
            1. frostycakes
              Link Parent
              At least for mail-in votes, our solution in my state that's been mail-only for a few elections is to have a detachable tab on the physical ballot that the voter keeps with them, while the ballot...

              At least for mail-in votes, our solution in my state that's been mail-only for a few elections is to have a detachable tab on the physical ballot that the voter keeps with them, while the ballot is placed into a secrecy sleeve and then the envelope to be mailed back. When the county election office receives it, the outside envelope is scanned (so you can track that your ballot was received), and then the ballots in their sleeves are removed and run through the scanner separately. That tear-off tab has a unique code that one can use to make sure that the ballot was counted as well.

              If we're talking all-electronic, yeah, that's just a whole pile of problems waiting to happen.

              2 votes
        2. JamesTeaKirk
          Link Parent
          They briefly mention the issue here. It seems that while fraud is probably more likely, it's still extremely rare and very difficult to get away with (Unless of course you're the secretary of...

          They briefly mention the issue here. It seems that while fraud is probably more likely, it's still extremely rare and very difficult to get away with (Unless of course you're the secretary of state and you feel like throwing ballots away but that's a whole separate issue :) ).

          https://electionlab.mit.edu/research/voting-mail-and-absentee-voting

          Another question surrounding VBM is whether it increases voter fraud. There are two major features of VBM that raise these concerns. First, the ballot is cast outside the public eye, and thus the opportunities for coercion and voter impersonation are greater. Second, the transmission path for VBM ballots is not as secure as traditional in-person ballots. These concerns relate both to ballots being intercepted and ballots being requested without the voter’s permission.

          As with all forms of voter fraud, documented instances of fraud related to VBM are rare. However, even many scholars who argue that fraud is generally rare agree that fraud with VBM voting seems to be more frequent than with in-person voting. Two of the best-known cases of voter fraud involving absentee voting occurred in 1997 in Georgia and Miami . More recently, a political campaign manager within North Carolina’s ninth Congressional district defrauded voters by collecting unfilled ballots and then filled in the rest of it to favor the campaign’s candidate, leading to a new election.

          3 votes
  2. Omnicrola
    Link
    FTA:

    FTA:

    Hospitals, which are on the front lines of a wave of new patients that have already strained resources, would get more than $130 billion, while states and local governments would get $150 billion to help cover expenses incurred by the response to the pandemic.

    The package would also give direct cash payments to most Americans, expand unemployment benefits and put forth a $367 billion program to help small businesses make payroll, according to The Associate Press.

    Every laid-off or furloughed worker would have their salary "remunerated by the federal government," Schumer said.

    13 votes
  3. [3]
    reese
    Link
    From The Hill:

    From The Hill:

    The bill bans stock buybacks for any corporation that accepts government loans during the term of their assistance plus one year.

    Schumer added a provision to ban businesses owned by the president, vice president, members of Congress and the heads of federal executive departments from receiving loans or investments through the corporate liquidity program. The prohibition also applies to their children, spouses and in-laws.

    ...

    Hundreds of billions of dollars in buffer capital for the Treasury Department will allow the Fed to hand out an additional $4 trillion in loans to distressed companies such as U.S. airlines and Boeing, the nation’s leading airplane manufacturer. Their stocks have been hit the hardest in the recent stock-market selloff that had erased the gains made since Trump took office.

    The Fed loan program, which Democrats bashed as a corporate bailout program and Mnuchin’s “slush fund,” was one of the biggest sticking points during the late rounds of the negotiations.

    ...

    Fitch Ratings downgraded its outlook for United Airlines to negative on Thursday amid fears about its ability to pay back loans. S&P Ratings downgraded Boeing’s credit rating to just two notches above junk on Monday.

    9 votes
    1. [2]
      JakeTheDog
      Link Parent
      Do you know if Schumer or Pelosi were responsible for the buyback provision too?

      Do you know if Schumer or Pelosi were responsible for the buyback provision too?

      4 votes
      1. reese
        Link Parent
        For that specific provision I would assume Schumer, ultimately, since that was a sticking point in the tied Senate vote the other day, according to Politico. But generally speaking, this was a...

        For that specific provision I would assume Schumer, ultimately, since that was a sticking point in the tied Senate vote the other day, according to Politico.

        But generally speaking, this was a joint effort. From that same Politico article:

        A livid Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) chastised Democrats for voting against moving forward and blamed Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for interfering.

        ...

        On Sunday, McConnell met for nearly an hour with Schumer, Pelosi, Mnuchin, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

        Pelosi indicated afterward that House Democrats didn't support the Senate bill and will forge ahead with their own proposal.

        “We’ll be introducing our own bill and hopefully it will be compatible," Pelosi said after leaving McConnell's office.

        Pelosi pushed a "laundry list" of demands at that meeting, according to a GOP official, including a proposal to wipe off $10,000 from anyone who owns federal student loans [my emphasis], as well as election-security funding. The Republicans countered those issues were not germane to the stimulus debate; Democrats say they have insisted these matters needed to be discussed all along.

        The mentioned bill is the Take Responsibility for Families and Workers Act, which Axios discusses here. Everyone has valid criticisms of Pelosi, but you have to grant that she does not fuck around. I would also imagine that the language in her bill is a sign of things to come after Trump is out of office.

        10 votes
  4. [13]
    Deimos
    Link
    Some last-minute objections are now threatening the bill's passing.
    9 votes
    1. [2]
      hungariantoast
      Link Parent
      If unemployment benefits outdo actual wages, maybe that's a sign that wages are too low?

      The Republican senators argue that because the unemployment benefits would be larger than what low-wage workers usually make, it would incentivize them to get laid off and not return to the workforce.

      If unemployment benefits outdo actual wages, maybe that's a sign that wages are too low?

      14 votes
      1. hungariantoast
        Link Parent
        Update: Senate passes $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill So now it's off to the House, probably to get passed tomorrow. Pro tip: the decision to send you a $1,200 check will be based on your...

        Update:

        So now it's off to the House, probably to get passed tomorrow.

        Pro tip: the decision to send you a $1,200 check will be based on your 2019 tax return. If you have not filed your 2019 taxes, it will instead be based on your 2018 taxes. If you are a low income earner and have not filed for either year, my understanding is that you need to file for 2019 (even if your income is zero) in order to get a check.

        However, social security forms, and other, similar records might also suffice. Be sure to research what you need to do and make sure you aren't left behind on this.

        4 votes
    2. [9]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      Yeah, that's why unconditional aid is better. In an individual case, which way should the incentive go, to stay home or go to work? Seems like it depends on how essential the job is and family...

      Yeah, that's why unconditional aid is better. In an individual case, which way should the incentive go, to stay home or go to work? Seems like it depends on how essential the job is and family circumstances? There's no way a blind federal rule can decide correctly.

      5 votes
      1. [8]
        reese
        Link Parent
        I could see how unconditional aid might be better, but I disagree with the reasons you've provided here. Most people who lost/lose their job in this pandemic won't have one to come back to. They...

        I could see how unconditional aid might be better, but I disagree with the reasons you've provided here. Most people who lost/lose their job in this pandemic won't have one to come back to. They need all the help they can get. And if the effect is incentivizing people to stay home, just for a few months, that's a great fucking idea. Staying home and not going to work is how we flatten the curve. The Republicans' argument that we shouldn't incentivize people to stay home, mostly from industries with the greatest risk of spreading the disease, is contextually unaware. It's also disturbing that they actually believe people ought to return to work sooner than later in said industries, and furthermore, coming full circle, that there are jobs to come back to.

        6 votes
        1. [7]
          skybrian
          Link Parent
          Suppose a job is essential (like in the medical field or in shipping) and there are people who go to work out of duty. Do you think they should suffer a financial penalty for taking a risk and...

          Suppose a job is essential (like in the medical field or in shipping) and there are people who go to work out of duty. Do you think they should suffer a financial penalty for taking a risk and doing the right thing?

          There is no one-size-fits-all rule for this situation. For some people it's important to go to work and for others it's important to stay home. If we're not going to figure out which is which, better to keep the incentives neutral and not second-guess local decisions.

          3 votes
          1. [6]
            reese
            Link Parent
            How does someone suffer a financial penalty because someone else, who meets the conditions for unemployment benefits, gets more money than usual for a few months? You do realize someone who...

            How does someone suffer a financial penalty because someone else, who meets the conditions for unemployment benefits, gets more money than usual for a few months? You do realize someone who qualifies for unemployment benefits lost their job, right? It's not an enviable position to be in. And you're applying zero-sum thinking to this situation, why?

            4 votes
            1. [5]
              skybrian
              Link Parent
              I was thinking about the incentives for one person. "Hey boss, you might as well lay me off, I need the money." Though that's assuming they can get hired back later after the crisis is over. It...

              I was thinking about the incentives for one person. "Hey boss, you might as well lay me off, I need the money."

              Though that's assuming they can get hired back later after the crisis is over. It does require a bit of collusion, perhaps more likely with a small business where people know each other. A family business, maybe? Perhaps that's a bit contrived, but people do weird things for the tax benefits.

              3 votes
              1. reese
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                As far as waste, fraud and abuse goes, proportionally the people in the circumstances you describe may as well not exist. The Republicans who dumped their stocks recently should draw far more...

                As far as waste, fraud and abuse goes, proportionally the people in the circumstances you describe may as well not exist. The Republicans who dumped their stocks recently should draw far more scrutiny and ire than hypothetical people trying to get an extra $600/mo for part of a year, on top of whatever measly sum the state thinks is enough to feed and shelter them. And what's even more absurd about that is, in most states, the employers are required to and have already paid into the goddamn unemployment insurance. Of those, most are required to pay nothing more than that tax. So we're talking about money that was already set aside for the purpose of helping unemployed people. It's basically their money, just with strings attached. I don't mean to linger on this, it's just that there are a lot of misconceptions about unemployment benefits, and I want anyone reading to understand why you have to actually work at some point to draw them.

                I'll clarify that I'm not saying it's mutually exclusive to prevent poor and rich people alike from abusing the system, but the priority is obvious. My opinion follows: Even the most conservative Democrats understand the priority, and it's always been the Republicans who conveniently ignore it, because, you know what, they love doing "weird things for the tax benefits," as you generally mentioned about people in your comment. When they fixate on finding new ways to prevent poor people from fighting over leftovers, they're projecting.

                7 votes
              2. [3]
                Death
                Link Parent
                Having known people who did actually delay re-entering the workforce because it would given them a lower salary: it is almost never based on a rational calculus. The money-as-incentive rationale...

                Having known people who did actually delay re-entering the workforce because it would given them a lower salary: it is almost never based on a rational calculus. The money-as-incentive rationale works in a theoretical economic argument but its a rational proposition applied to a deeply irrational system. It's too easy to suppose high unemployment benefits will be the main cause of a mass of delays in re-entry.

                There will be collusion, sure, but to what degree? And is that degree so damaging that the measure would be a net negative?

                2 votes
                1. [2]
                  ubergeek
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  The amazing argument that free market conservatives ignore is: If unemployment is paying more than employement, that merely means that wages for jobs must go up, to entice people to take said...

                  The amazing argument that free market conservatives ignore is: If unemployment is paying more than employement, that merely means that wages for jobs must go up, to entice people to take said jobs.

                  It's a net win, regardless of how you look at it, and a big argument in favor of UBI (Which also would eliminate the need for a minimum wage, and all it's laws and apparatus).

                  EDIT Entire --> entice

                  2 votes
                  1. skybrian
                    (edited )
                    Link Parent
                    Well, inflation isn't always a win for consumers. But under the circumstances I doubt it will be a problem. Edit: actually I think there is a good public safety based argument for higher wages...

                    Well, inflation isn't always a win for consumers. But under the circumstances I doubt it will be a problem.

                    Edit: actually I think there is a good public safety based argument for higher wages during the crisis.

                    If you think lock-downs are good, that means you think that the labor market for non-essential businesses is systematically underpricing risk (that is, without government action, people would go to work instead of staying home, and you're in favor of preventing that). If wages for risky work were higher then this would also discourage the non-essential use of labor by employers.

                    A union could negotiate more hazard pay, but maybe it's better if the government just makes wages higher to discourage work, and high unemployment benefits are in support of that.

                    1 vote
    3. bleem
      Link Parent
      of course one of the senators is lindsay graham

      of course one of the senators is lindsay graham

      3 votes
  5. [6]
    ThyMrMan
    Link
    Will have to see more about the details and how it actually plays out. But good to see the two sides can briefly ignore their constant bickering with each other to try and actually help the...

    Will have to see more about the details and how it actually plays out. But good to see the two sides can briefly ignore their constant bickering with each other to try and actually help the country out.

    6 votes
    1. [5]
      shiruken
      Link Parent
      Senate Democrats had to endure a single day of conservative politicians and media accusing them of torpedoing the bill in order to gain almost every concession they wanted.

      But good to see the two sides can briefly ignore their constant bickering with each other to try and actually help the country out.

      Senate Democrats had to endure a single day of conservative politicians and media accusing them of torpedoing the bill in order to gain almost every concession they wanted.

      15 votes
      1. [4]
        Omnicrola
        Link Parent
        I'm trying to balance paying too much attention with not paying enough attention. Aside from making sure the president and congress people don't benefit from the loans, what other concessions did...

        I'm trying to balance paying too much attention with not paying enough attention. Aside from making sure the president and congress people don't benefit from the loans, what other concessions did they win?

        5 votes
        1. gpl
          Link Parent
          Aside from the links people have shared, another big concession is oversight of the $500 billion treasury fund for corporations. Before the money was to be doled out solely at the discretion of...

          Aside from the links people have shared, another big concession is oversight of the $500 billion treasury fund for corporations. Before the money was to be doled out solely at the discretion of the Executive branch, with recipients being anonymous for 6 months. Now there is an inspector general as well as a congressionally approved oversight board, and recipients are immediately made public, along with other checks.

          7 votes
        2. [2]
          shiruken
          Link Parent
          This comment from u/reese summarizes what we know so far: https://tildes.net/~health.coronavirus/n5k/white_house_senate_agree_to_2_trillion_coronavirus_rescue_package#comment-4snq
          3 votes
  6. reese
    Link
    From the LA Times:

    From the LA Times:

    The measure is the third stimulus bill proposed by Congress to address the economic and social disruptions of the pandemic. It follows an initial $8.3-billion measure largely aimed at developing a vaccine and a second package, passed last week, that mandated greater access to paid sick leave for workers as well as free COVID-19 testing.

    The latest $2-trillion stimulus bill is expected to include direct payments of $1,200 or less to most adults, loans to businesses and an expansion of unemployment insurance and other aspects of the social safety net. It comes at a time when millions of Americans have been asked to stay away from school and work, and remain inside their homes to reduce the spread of the disease.

    The amounts of the one-time payments, which officials hope could go out to Americans as soon as early April, will be based on income reported in 2018 taxes, declining gradually beginning with individuals who made $75,000 or married couples filed jointly who made $150,000. Individuals making $99,000 or above or married couples making $198,000 or more would receive no check. People would also receive an additional $500 per child.

    Schumer said negotiators agreed to put "unemployment insurance on steroids" by expanding those covered to include people who are furloughed, gig workers and freelancers, and by increasing payments by $600 dollars per week for four months on top of what states provide as a base unemployment compensation.

    2 votes
  7. Staross
    Link
    I'm not too worried about the US, the Fed is doing its job. In the EU because of their dumb ideology the central bank cannot directly intervene and states and companies will have to borrow money...

    I'm not too worried about the US, the Fed is doing its job. In the EU because of their dumb ideology the central bank cannot directly intervene and states and companies will have to borrow money on the markets, possibly leading to an Euro crisis 2.0 in a year or two.

    2 votes
  8. [4]
    Kuromantis
    Link
    Good, much better that what has been proposed here in Brazil. Unfortunately Trump will probably get all the credit. But it's still way better than doing nothing.

    Good, much better that what has been proposed here in Brazil. Unfortunately Trump will probably get all the credit. But it's still way better than doing nothing.

    1 vote
    1. [3]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      I don't see why Trump would get much credit, given that the negotiations were in the news for several days. This is something Congress tried hard to do. He will claim credit of course.

      I don't see why Trump would get much credit, given that the negotiations were in the news for several days. This is something Congress tried hard to do. He will claim credit of course.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        Death
        Link Parent
        His base will credit him and it'll be interesting to see if that leads to more other voters somewhat absorbing some of that as well, although more along the "well in the end he came through" line...

        His base will credit him and it'll be interesting to see if that leads to more other voters somewhat absorbing some of that as well, although more along the "well in the end he came through" line of thought. It would certainly seem plausible given his approval rating has been climbing for the past week or so.

        3 votes
        1. skybrian
          Link Parent
          His base will credit him with whatever, but for others it might be more along the lines of "it's a relief that at least he isn't getting in the way."

          His base will credit him with whatever, but for others it might be more along the lines of "it's a relief that at least he isn't getting in the way."

          1 vote