A $2 Trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Will Help, but More May Be Needed

Neither Republicans nor Democrats love the bill, which was the product of frenzied negotiations punctuated by often bitter partisan anger. Some liberal groups denounced it as a slush fund for corporations. Some conservatives warned that the large amount of borrowed money it would plow into the economy could stoke rampant inflation.

Business groups celebrated it as a late but necessary intervention, and so did many lawmakers and policy advocates.

“Nothing is perfect around here,” Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, said in a Tuesday speech on the Senate floor. “But if you make perfect the enemy of the good, you’re going to hurt more people, more small businesses will shut, more people will be out on their own and there will be more and more people who will be infected with this virus who otherwise could have been saved.”

Jacob Leibenluft, a senior fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress, said Congress “will need much more over the coming months, but the crucial thing the bill appears to do is begin providing relief to families and communities through channels that can get it out quickly, like expanded unemployment insurance, direct payments and state aid.”

Policy experts and business lobbyists have been warning for days that congressional failure to reach a deal was causing more companies to shutter and workers to lose their jobs. Some said on Tuesday that lawmakers needed to be ready to start work on another plan to avoid any additional losses if the outbreak effects stretch into summer and fall.

“Much of the small business community is facing an extinction-level event,” said John Lettieri, the chief of the Economic Innovation Group think tank in Washington, who pushed heavily for a package of small business loans in the agreement. “Will this bill help? Absolutely. But the lending capacity needed to prevent mass closures and layoffs could be four or five times larger than what is being provided.”

“Congress,” Mr. Lettieri said, “needs to be prepared now for how quickly these resources are going to evaporate.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/25/business/2-trillion-stimulus-coronavirus-bill.html

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