Coronavirus relief bill was ‘worth the day wait’

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Sen. Chris Coons on Wednesday put his full support behind the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package agreed to by the Senate and White House. 

“I think it was worth the day wait,” the Delaware Democrat said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “I’m really excited about this package and excited to get it out the door.” 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced an agreement had been reached on the Senate floor around 1:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday. “At last we have a deal,” the Kentucky Republican said. 

Wall Street and Main Street had been on edge as Americans awaited congressional action on the massive relief bill to soften the crushing economic blow from the coronavirus.

Democrats in the Senate voted against the package in two key procedural votes on Sunday and Monday, arguing that it did not do enough to help workers and that the money set aside to aid large corporations lacked proper oversight. 

“The things that Democrats stood firm for, expanding unemployment, helping states and counties, investing in hospitals, transparency on the big fund” are now all included in the bill, Coons argued. 

The aid for local governments was one of the reasons an agreement on the relief package was not struck earlier, he added.

“Most of the folks we are admiring and lauding, the paramedics and hospital nurses, many of them in this country work for county hospitals,” said Coons, who added state governments are being hurt by a decline in sales tax revenue as the economy comes to a near halt. 

“There was very little for states and counties a few days ago. There’s now a $150 billion in direct assistance,” he said.

McConnell said the Senate will vote and approve the legislation later Wednesday.

Coons, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, said he wants the House to quickly agree on the legislation.  

“I am hopeful the House, rather than reconvening, rather than trying to revise or amend it, will simply pass it by unanimous consent so this record relief package can get out to the American people,” he said.

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