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The Deal


It looks like a stimulus deal will pass later today:

The Senate bill would direct payments of $1,200 to most American adults and $500 to most children, create a $500 billion lending program for companies, states and cities, and extend an additional $367 billion to help small companies deal with payroll problems. It would bolster the unemployment insurance system and pump $150 billion into U.S. hospitals. The bill more than doubled in size in just a few days.


The legislation would also significantly boost unemployment insurance, expanding eligibility and offering workers an additional $600 a week for four months, on top of what state unemployment programs pay.


Final issues included a push by Democrats for a dramatic increase in food stamp benefits in exchange for accepting billions more in funding for the administration’s farm bailout that Republicans have included in the stimulus bill. Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) said in a news release that the legislation would increase the amount the Department of Agriculture can spend on its bailout program from $30 billion to $50 billion.

The bill certainly seems substantially improved from the version McConnell initially tried to ram through — getting the unemployment money is especially important. The slush fund is still pretty bad despite the greater transparency* but that’s what happens when Republicans control two of the three relevant veto points. We’ll be in a better position to evaluate it when we get the final version but barring something unexpected it’s worth passing under the circumstances.

*although this is good:

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