WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) is among the select group of U.S. Senators tasked with negotiating key elements of an emergency $1 trillion-plus economic rescue and stimulus package amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Senator Reed, who serves on three key committees – Appropriations; Armed Services; and Banking – helped negotiate critical portions of the economic rescue package in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, and included a warrants provision to the law that resulted in taxpayers saving nearly $10 billion that otherwise would have gone to big banks.
Today, the group of about 20 Senators from both parties met on Capitol Hill in the Hart Senate Office Building after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) unveiled Senate Republicans opening proposal for a coronavirus stimulus package that Senator Reed says does not do enough to help working families and instead prioritizes bailouts for corporations over help for average workers.
Senator Reed stated: “This is about saving lives and saving our economy. My priority is protecting Americans while providing emergency economic aid to those in need. In order to rescue our economy, we need a pro-worker package that speeds help to those who need it and lays the foundation for a strong, sustainable economy. We must put workers and small businesses first. And help for industries must include safeguards that benefit workers and taxpayers too. No one piece of legislation – even a trillion dollar one – can undo all the damage or pull us out of this deep and unprecedented hole. But I will do everything I can to combat coronavirus and help my fellow Americans.”
The bipartisan teams of lawmakers will be working throughout the day with goal of reaching a series of agreements soon. The Senators will continue working through the weekend with the hope of producing a bill that can begin to be procedurally voted on by the full U.S. Senate as early as Monday.
“We’ve got to be big, bold, and move quickly. Republicans chose to come out with a one-sided draft, but now there is a commitment to work together. Senator Schumer rightfully points out we need a Marshal Plan for this crisis that includes more resources for hospitals and help for workers and small businesses. We are uniting to get the job done. This has to be a bipartisan effort and I am confident everyone will see the wisdom of passing a bill focused on health care, workers, and small businesses directly hit by this crisis,” noted Reed.
The Republican and Democratic negotiators are breaking into four key working groups that include: small business rescue; rebates and tax breaks; health care issues; and targeted financial assistance.
Republican negotiators include: Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Thune (D-SD), Pat Toomey (R-PA), and Roger Wicker.
In addition to Senator Reed, the Democratic negotiators include: Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).