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Coronavirus Relief Package Includes Rules to Keep People Like Donald Trump From Getting a Bailout

No Self-Dealing

Donald Trump makes a pouty face in front of an American flag.

The Senate reached a deal early in the hours of Wednesday morning on a massive relief package to prop up the flailing US economy as it deals with the repercussions of coronavirus. The gargantuan $2 trillion package contains provisions for everything from individual payments to many Americans to health care funding to expanded unemployment benefits and, very importantly, loans for businesses.

The idea of a no-interest, forgivable loan was, of course, tempting to the failed casino-owner currently occupying the oval office. Trump hinted that he would be interested in a bailout for his own businesses last week. And last Sunday at a press conference, he refused to rule out the possibility that he would take bailout funds, and thus personally profit from the relief package.

Well, in a major win for Democrats, the new relief package includes language which, according to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office, via NPR, “prohibits businesses controlled by the president, vice president, members of Congress and heads of executive departments from participating in the loan or investment programs.” This ban also extends to the spouses and children of executive and legislative branch members. This means no bailouts for any Trumps.

The package will also include a lot of transparency for these loans and bailouts. The treasury and lawmakers will have to disclose who receives these loans in real-time and an inspector general for pandemic recovery will be appointed to oversee the distribution of funds and other elements.

This is a big deal and a big win for Democrats, who fought hard for these provisions. It prevents underhanded people like, well, Donald Trump from profiting off the pandemic. Of course, Trump isn’t the only business owner or massively wealthy individual in government, so it’s good that this will apply to all members of congress as well as the president. However, it doesn’t address the Senators that used advanced briefing about the virus to sell off their stocks and profit.

Schumer was the point person for negotiations in the Senate, but he was backed-up by Nancy Pelosi in the house, who flexed big time in other recent negotiations by ignoring the GOP entirely and talking directly to the treasury.

While this package has been agreed upon, it has not, at this point, actually passed in the Senate or the House. Passage seems inevitable, but it’s now a matter of how it will be passed and if there will be an objection to it passing quickly. If there are no objections in the Senate it can pass by unanimous consent and go right to the House, then to be signed by the President. Lawmakers understandably want to pass this package quickly and adjourn so they can socially distance themselves from the large gathering that is the Congress of the United States, where many members have already tested positive for Coronavirus.

This package will hopefully serve to remind Donald Trump that he will not be able to enrich himself off the crisis he had a hand in causing, and will also show that it was Congress, not the President, that acted to actually help people in the time of need.

(via Vice, image: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.