Senate expected to vote on $2 trillion stimulus package

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(WSAW) -- The U.S. Senate is expected to vote Wednesday on a $2 trillion, bipartisan stimulus package to help the struggling economy during this pandemic.

Currently, every adult will receive $1,200 plus $500 for each dependent child. It would also increase the current unemployment payment by $600 per week for the next four months. In addition, $500 billion in loans would be available for certain businesses and industries to apply to receive.

NewsChannel 7 reached out to republican Sen. Ron Johnson but did not hear back. However, republicans are pushing for a vote on an amendment to the deal, saying the current plan incentivizes unemployment.

"This bill pays you more not to work than if you were working," Senate Chair Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said. "Very few people are going to turn down a 24-hour dollar deal, not to work."

Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin disagrees, telling NewsChannel 7 in a remote video interview that the funding will keep people who do not hold essential jobs from spreading the coronavirus unnecessarily.

"We don't want them to go out and expose others to the potential virus just because they need a paycheck," she said.

"You're literally incentivizing taking people out of the workforce at a time where we need critical infrastructure supplied with workers," Sen. Graham told reporters in Washington. "If this is not a drafting error, then it's the worst idea I've seen in a long time and that's saying a lot given the fact that we're in Washington."

"The direct payments are, really, emergency funds for people who have an interruption in their pay, but still have to pay the rent or the mortgage and in some cases are being asked to get groceries for several weeks when it's hard enough to have the money to get groceries for one week," Baldwin argued.

The money to fund this package would come from multiple places, including medicare and Medicaid to help hospitals, the Fed and Treasury Department for businesses, as well as newly appropriated dollars for things like childcare for essential workers while kids are out of school.

"One of the most important jobs that we're going to have following the passage of this legislation is oversight to show that it is conducted and implemented in the way that Congress intended," Baldwin urged.

In the last stimulus package under the George W. Bush administration, some small and large businesses committed fraud and also bought back stocks and gave executive bonuses instead of helping their employees. That is why in this package, part of the loans for businesses will be forgiven if they do not do those things and focus on employees.

"If possible, if those small businesses can keep their employees on furlough rather than a layoff, then the employees still get the benefits for health and they can apply for our much-expanded unemployment insurance program," Baldwin said.

The package also added transparency to the process. The treasury department has to publicly post every loan it grants within 72 of granting it. The package also added a special inspector general who would be able to immediately pursue any allegations of fraud and who will have subpoena power.

Baldwin said the Senate is planning to have two senators at a time enter the floor and vote on the package. If it passes, it heads to the House, however it is not in session currently. Baldwin said they are hoping to do a voice vote in the House, as coordinating 435 members is a lot more difficult than 100 senators. She is hopeful the bill will pass the full Congress Wednesday.