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  Posted 19 March 2020 - 11:19 PM

Republicans Who Loathe Big Spending Forced To Embrace Biggest Stimulus Plan In History

Washington Examiner
by Susan Ferrechio
March 19, 2020 11:00 PM

Excerpt:

Republicans, who have long opposed massive stimulus measures, are now spearheading the most expensive one in history to try to rescue the economy from the effects of the coronavirus.

By the time Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin outlined a nearly $1 trillion federal spending plan to Senate Republicans last week, the stock market had approached levels not seen since before President Trump took office.

Mnuchin warned of a 20% unemployment rate as businesses large and small shuttered thanks to federal guidelines calling on people to stay home. Grim-faced Republicans left the meeting with little praise for the proposal, which included sending $1,000 checks to adults to help weather the economic storm.

“It’s a very fluid situation, and Republicans are having intense discussions,” Sen. Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, told the Washington Examiner. He called the proposal to send people cash “one of the ideas under discussion.”

By the end of the week, Republicans had increased the direct cash payments to $1,200 plus $500 for each child for individuals earning under $75,000 and couples making less than $150,000.

The plan also includes forgivable loans to small businesses and financial aid to the hard-hit airline industry.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who — along with nearly every single Republican — opposed President Barack Obama’s $787 billion stimulus in 2009, led the effort to get the coronavirus stimulus passed swiftly and said he backed the direct cash payments.

“Money for people,” McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said. “From the middle class on down. Period. For laid-off Americans, this infusion would complement unemployment insurance and could be put toward immediate needs during this crisis.”

McConnell plowed ahead with the proposal despite misgivings from some in his GOP conference who opposed the cash payments.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, argued it would make more sense to administer the aid through the existing unemployment insurance system. Other Republicans sided with him, but they were overruled.

*snip*

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