Late last night, the Senate passed a $2 trillion stimulus package. Here are its key provisions, good and bad:
— The bill still provides a $500 billion slush fund to bail out corporations. Democrats secured a provision that an independent inspector general and an oversight board will oversee the lending decisions, but giving half a trillion dollars to corporations is still unconscionable while hospitals are overwhelmed and people are dying — now is not the time for corporate welfare.
— The bill provides $367 billion for small business loans and $130 billion for hospitals. This is a crucial step in the right direction, but I still find it ridiculous that corporations are getting nearly four times as much bailout money as hospitals on the front lines of this crisis.
— The bill stipulates a one-time payment of just $1,200 to every adult, which is not nearly enough for working Americans to weather this crisis. How are Americans supposed to pay their rent, pay their bills, put food on the table, and take care of their kids with just that one-time payment?
— The bill expands unemployment insurance to make gig workers, contract workers, and self-employed individuals eligible to receive benefits, and adds $600 a week for four months on top of state unemployment insurance. It’s incredibly important that gig workers, contract workers, and self-employed workers are now eligible for unemployment insurance; at a time when so many livelihoods are hanging in the balance, we must ensure that no worker is left behind.
Overall, I’d give this bill a C+. It’s absolutely infuriating that it still includes a $500 billion slush fund for corporations with minimal worker protections and restrictions on corporate misbehavior. Every penny we have needs to go to Americans who need income support and health care, and to hospitals that need life-saving equipment.