The Senate is expected to try to vote today on legislation that would provide approximately $2 trillion in funding to try to counter the negative economic effects of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). 

Senate leaders and the White House reached an agreement Wednesday morning after five days of negotiations. The bill must be passed through both chambers of Congress and signed by the president before it would become law.

Text of the legislation was not immediately available for review, but among the bill’s numerous components, according to media reports:

  • $1,200 checks for Americans making up to $75,000, with smaller payments for those making more than that amount but less than $99,000, and additional monies for people with children
  • $350 billion to $367 billion for a small business loan program
  • $500 billion fund for corporations
  • Funds toward unemployment insurance that also will cover gig economy workers, furloughed employees and freelancers not usually eligible for the unemployment program
  • $150 billion for state and local stimulus funds, and 
  • $100 billion to $130 billion for hospitals

In other coronavirus-related news:

  • The United States has the potential to become the next epicenter of the pandemic, a spokesperson for the World Health Organization said Tuesday during a call with the press. 
  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said it will post a pre-recorded webinar about how to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in light of federal employment nondiscrimination laws. The webinar will be posted at eeoc.gov Friday afternoon. No registration is necessary to listen.
  • The Labor Department of Labor said it will host a national online dialogue to provide employers and employees with an opportunity to offer their perspective as the department develops compliance assistance materials and outreach strategies related to the implementation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Anybody interested can participate online at https://ffcra.ideascale.com from March 23 through March 29 or can join a Twitter chat hosted by @ePolicyWorks today at 2 p.m. using the hashtag #EPWChat.
  • Three Pillars Senior Living Communities, Dousman, WI, is looking for people to write and send cards or letters to residents who may be feeling blue, isolated or in need of a smile. “We believe these kind gestures will help bring happiness and joy to our residents during this time, and with all that is going on, it’s important we stick together as a community and keep everyone’s spirits high,” said President and CEO Mark Strautman. Those interested can send items to: Three Pillars, Attn: Cards for Residents, 410 N. Main St., Dousman, WI 53118.