Pelosi $2.5 Trillion Plan Has Mortgage Reprieve: Congress Update

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(Bloomberg) -- Republicans and Democrats in Congress are negotiating with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Monday in an attempt to reach a compromise on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s bill worth as much as $2 trillion to help soften the economic blow from the coronavirus pandemic.

Here are the latest developments:

Pelosi $2.5 Trillion Plan Has Mortgage Reprieve (8:26 p.m.)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled a $2.5 trillion, 1,400-page virus stimulus bill in a bid to shape talks on a rival Senate GOP bill that remained stalled on Monday.

The Pelosi bill has broad implications for the financial sector. It would force lenders to grant a temporary reprieve from mortgage and car payments and credit card bills, and order the Federal Reserve to provide loan servicers with liquidity to give borrowers to stop paying their mortgages for up to 360 days.

Public housing residents would also temporarily not have to pay their rent, and student loan borrowers would also have $10,000 of debt forgiven.

Negative consumer credit reporting would be halted and foreclosures and evictions would be banned.

There are currently no plans for House members to return to Washington to vote on the bill, which appears to be a list of demands Democrats want to see included in the Senate measure. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer have been negotiating behind closed doors all day Monday searching for a compromise.

Trump Urges Senate to ‘Make a Deal’ on Stimulus (6:27 p.m.)

President Donald Trump urged the Senate to put partisan differences aside and pass McConnell’s nearly $2 trillion virus economic stimulus plan “as written.”

Opening the daily White House briefing on the virus response, the president said senators have no choice and “have to make a deal.”

“We are going to save American workers and we are going to save them quickly,” Trump said.

Hotels, Restaurants Seek More Stimulus Aid (5:37 p.m.)

Trade groups representing restaurants, travel destinations and hotels are calling on Congress to increase the loan amount offered to small businesses in an economic stimulus package.

The U.S. Travel Association supports increasing the maximum loan amount offered to small businesses to four times the borrowers’ monthly operating costs from 2.5 times the borrowers’ monthly payroll expenses, according to Tori Emerson Barnes, who heads public affairs and policy for the group. The American Hotel & Lodging Association also supports that position, according to a person familiar with the matter. The draft includes about $350 billion in loans for small businesses that would convert to grants if the companies retain their employees.

Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of public affairs of the National Restaurant Association, which also supports a higher loan amount, said the draft bill “is a great first step but there is certainly need for access to credit to be expanded for restaurants.” -- Naomi Nix, Ben Brody

Pelosi to Release $2.5 Trillion Counteroffer (4:24 p.m.)

House Democrats are preparing to release a $2.5 trillion virus stimulus measure in a bid to influence ongoing talks on the Senate bill.

The bill from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is more costly than the $1.8 trillion measure being negotiated by Republican and Democratic senators, which has twice fallen short of the votes needed on a procedural move to advance the bill.

According to an official summary of the House bill, individuals including the retired and the unemployed would receive $1,500, compared with $1,200 in the Senate bill. The House proposal would also create a $600 per week payment for any worker laid off or for self-employed people who have lost contracts due to the pandemic.

The legislation would also authorize the Federal Reserve to purchase state and local government bonds intended to fight the coronavirus outbreak, would send $60 billion to schools and universities, and would relieve student debt.

The bill would create a national requirement for states to allow early voting and voting by mail in cases of national emergency.

There are currently no plans for House members to return to Washington to vote on the bill, expected to be released later Monday. At this point, it appears to be a list of demands Democrats want to see included in the Senate bill. -- Erik Wasson

Pelosi Hopes for House Vote on Counterproposal (3:01 p.m.)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she is hoping to bring House members back to Washington to vote on Democrats’ version of the coronavirus stimulus bill. Most House members left town on March 14, while the Senate has been in session, negotiating changes to a Republican version of the stimulus bill.

“We’ll see what we’re going to do -- that’s our hope yes,” Pelosi said when asked if House members will return to vote on the Democratic version. “And we’ll see what the Senate is going to do.”

But multiple Democratic officials familiar with the House plans said there’s no set day for lawmakers to come back to Washington, and they’re are not expected to return until after Wednesday.

House Democrats are scheduled to have a caucus-wide call on Tuesday afternoon. If the House and Senate pass different versions of the stimulus bill, it will take more time to reconcile the differences and get the bill to President Donald Trump for his signature.

Democrats Again Block Stimulus as Talks Proceed (2:07 p.m.)

Senate Democrats again refused to advance McConnell’s $2 trillion stimulus plan Monday as the coronavirus continued spreading amid dire predictions of a deep economic recession.

The 49-46 vote with 60 needed, following a similar vote late Sunday, blocked McConnell’s latest version of the plan, which had been the product of frenzied bipartisan negotiations over the weekend.

“Why are the American people still waiting?” McConnell said on the Senate floor before the vote. “The markets are not doing well today.”

He accused Democrats of pushing unrelated “wish-list items” such as solar energy tax credits and new emission standards for airlines. “This is the moment to debate new regulations that have nothing whatsoever to do with this crisis?” McConnell said.

Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said he has had “almost continuous negotiations” with Mnuchin. He said they are close to reaching a deal and his goal is to do so Monday.

The Democratic leader said Monday’s vote was essentially “irrelevant” because his party will be ready to move ahead “once we have an agreement that everybody can get behind.”

Pelosi to Introduce House Counterproposal (12:54 p.m.)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said House Democrats will introduce their version of the stimulus package to respond to the coronavirus, offering an alternative to the bill currently under discussion in the Senate.

“The Senate Republicans’ bill, as presented, put corporations first, not workers and families,” Pelosi said in a statement. “We urge the Senate to move closer to the values in the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act.”

She said the House bill would boost unemployment insurance and prevent companies that receive federal help from firing workers, increasing executive pay or buying back stock.

The House measure would fund hospitals’ virus response and would call for the president to use the Defense Production Act to shore up critical supplies. It would also increase funds for schools, food assistance and to help states expand early and absentee voting, according to a statement from Pelosi’s office.

The House and Senate must pass the same version of the legislation before sending it to President Donald Trump for his signature.

Plan Could Fund Accountability Panel for Aid (11:20 a.m.)

There is now funding in the stimulus plan to operate an accountability board for the $500 billion bailout fund, Senator Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, said on Bloomberg TV Monday.

A demand for greater oversight of the fund to assist companies and state and local governments has been a key sticking point for Democrats. Coons said the details were still being worked out and put into the legislation.“I don’t see that there is yet final agreement on the language of what is the scope of that accountability board,” he said.

Coons said the most recent draft version he saw still granted the Treasury secretary “very broad discretion.” For example, he said, if a company takes a multibillion-dollar loan and simply uses it for bailouts and executive compensation, there is “no clear mechanism” for that to be resolved.

Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren said in a separate Bloomberg Television Interview that she wants an oversight panel with “real teeth” to monitor that the money is spent according to the law and according to the promises that companies made when they took the funds.

Coons, Barrasso Both Say Senate Will Make a Deal (8:02 a.m.)

U.S. senators in both political parties expressed confidence the Senate will approve a broad economic stimulus measure to address the coronavirus crisis later Monday, despite Sunday’s failed procedural vote on a Senate GOP measure that would have begun debate while talks on a bipartisan replacement bill continued.

Speaking in separate TV appearances, Republican Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming and Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware said they expect lawmakers in both parties will resolve differences and advance legislation to the House.

“Relief is on the way,” Barrasso said on Fox Business. “We want to get this passed today.”

Coons said both parties were able to agree easily on major parts of the bill, including $350 billion in aid for smaller businesses. Outstanding disputes, including how many strings should be attached for airlines and other big businesses getting help, can be resolved, he said.

“I think we will get this done,” he said on “Fox and Friends.” He added that “there is a sense of urgency.”

Mnuchin, Schumer Keep Negotiating on Bill (6 a.m.)

Negotiations continued Sunday night between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer after Democrats blocked the economic stimulus measure in a Senate procedural vote.

McConnell has been aiming for a final Senate vote Monday, but leaders of both parties continue to differ on key sections, including a $500 billion chunk that could be used to help corporations, including airlines, or state and local governments.

Catch Up on Washington’s Virus Response

Democrats Block Senate Economic Stimulus Bill as Talks FalterTrump, Congressional Leaders Say Deal on Virus Stimulus CloseMnuchin Sees Emergency Aid Package on Track for Monday PassageHouse Democrats Want Trump Team’s Answers on Supply ShortagesTrump Pushes an Unproven Coronavirus Drug, and Patients Stock UpFed Going All In to Save Economy. Here’s What Could Come Next

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