March 26, 2020

Senate and White House negotiators threw together the largest economic rescue bill in modern U.S. history in less than a week, and the final version of the $2.2 trillion package — passed unanimously in the Senate late Wednesday — has a lot of money for a lot of businesses and institutions. The goal of the legislation is to shore up the U.S. economy and civil society during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Here's where some of that money will go:

Direct cash payments: Most Americans will get checks of up to $1,200 plus $500 per child, at a cost of about $290 billion.

Hospitals: $100 billion is for grants to hospitals and health care providers struggling to purchase critical supplies and losing money from postponed elective surgeries. There's also money for community health centers, Medicare, telehealth, and public health agencies.

Unemployment: The bill sets aside $260 billion to expand unemployment payments to a broader group of workers affected by the pandemic, add 13 weeks of coverage for the unemployed, and boost weekly payments by up to $600.

State and local governments: $150 billion will go to help state and local governments weather the outbreak, including a minimum of $1.5 billion per state and $8 billion for tribal governments. There's another $25 billion in state infrastructure grants.

Small businesses: $377 billion is set aside for zero-interest loans and other payments for businesses with fewer than 500 employees — including nonprofits and individual hotels and restaurants from large chains. The loans will be forgiven if the companies retain their employees and meet other conditions.

Big businesses: The bill has $500 billion for industries hit especially hard by the pandemic. This includes $50 billion for passenger airlines — $25 billion in loans, $25 billion in grants — $8 billion for cargo carriers, and $17 billion for "businesses critical to maintaining national security" (read: Boeing). The other $425 billion is loans allocated through Federal Reserve programs, with some limits on executive compensation and stock buybacks, new oversight mechanisms, and a ban on participation by companies significantly controlled by President Trump, other top administration officials, members of Congress, or their families.

Miscellaneous: The Pentagon receives $10.4 billion, FEMA gets $45 billion, $25 billion goes for food stamps, $25 billion for public transit systems, $31 billion for local schools and colleges, and states get $400 million to prepare for the 2020 elections, including expanding vote-by-mail and polling locations.

Find more details at Politico, The Associated Press, and The Washington Post, and learn more about the fine print at The New York Times. Peter Weber

11:02 a.m.

Dr. Anthony Fauci sees some positive news finally coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fauci, the U.S.'s top infectious disease doctor who's leading its coronavirus response, spoke to CNN's Jim Sciutto on Tuesday about the ongoing crisis. While COVID-19 case numbers are still expanding every day, Fauci suggested "we're starting to see glimmers" of social distancing having its intended "dampening effect."

"You're starting to see that the daily increases are not in that steep incline, they're starting to be able to possibly flatten out," Fauci said of case numbers across the country. But he was cautious and showed no sign he would recommend lifting stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines, saying "I don't want to put too much stock on it, because you don't want to get overconfident, you just want to keep pushing in what you're doing."

Fauci also acknowledged America's mass shortage of medical supplies, particularly protective masks. While there aren't enough masks to go around right now, once they are in better supply, "I believe there will be some very serious consideration about more broadening this recommendation of using masks," he said. That topic will be on the table for the White House's coronavirus task force on Tuesday.

And as for chloroquine, the drug that has been used for decades to treat malaria that President Trump touted as a possible treatment, Fauci said there hasn't yet been any "definitive evidence that this works" for treating COVID-19. Kathryn Krawczyk

10:26 a.m.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams is getting frustrated with those Americans who still aren't practicing social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Adams spoke to Fox News on Tuesday morning after President Trump extended the federal government's social distancing guidelines until the end of April. Once again encouraging Americans to stay home and keep their distance from others, Adams decried reports of some not taking these warnings to heart.

"I'm a little bit frustrated, because you're still seeing pictures on Twitter, on TV, of people getting together, being too close, putting themselves in a situation where they could end up in the hospital," he said.

While Adams didn't cite specific examples, images emerged on Monday of a crowd of people in Manhattan gathering to look at the USNS Comfort hospital ship. The New York Post reports that "the NYPD warned the crowds about violating social distancing, but did not issue any tickets."

Adams in the Fox interview said, though, that "we really hope and expect" that people will listen to the administration's guidelines, and "the way we solve this problem is by everyone coming together" to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

This comes after Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force's response coordinator, said Monday the U.S. could be facing between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths from COVID-19 even if "we do things together well, almost perfectly." But she added that the administration isn't sure "that all of America is responding in a uniform way to protect one another, so we also have to factor that in."

9:54 a.m.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) isn't backing out of the 2020 race just yet.

Sanders, who remains about 300 delegates behind former Vice President Joe Biden in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, was Late Night with Seth Meyers' first remote guest of the COVID-19 pandemic Monday night. Meyers asked Sanders if he still saw a path to the nomination, "and if not, why are you remaining in the race?" Sanders had an answer for both questions.

Acknowledging the delegate count, Sanders said "we have a path," but "it is, admittedly, a narrow path." "We have a strong grassroots movement who believe that we have got to stay in the race" to fight for his platform's principles, Sanders continued. "We need Medicare-for-all," to "raise the minimum wage to a living wage," and "paid family and medical leave," Sanders said — issues that have been highlighted throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Watch the whole interview below. Kathryn Krawczyk

9:51 a.m.

Goldman Sachs' outlook for the United States economy in the short-term has grown bleaker.

The investment bank is now estimating the U.S. GDP will contract 34 percent from the previous quarter between April and June because of the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic. That's a pretty significant shift from it's previous 24 percent projection, which, as CNN notes, was already a shockingly severe estimate.

Goldman switched things up because it now thinks the U.S. labor market is bracing for a heavier-than-anticipated collapse — it expects unemployment to rise to 15 percent by the middle of the year, rather than 9 percent as earlier estimates showed.

But a harsher fall also means a stronger rebound. The bank now thinks the economy will rebound even more sharply between July and September, though that likely comes with the caveat that the U.S. continues to manage and suppress the pandemic, allowing people to get back to work so commerce can start revving again. Read more at CNN. Tim O'Donnell

8:49 a.m.

Three-quarters of the U.S. and about two-thirds of the world's people have been asked or ordered to stay home in a bid to contain the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The result is a mixture of boredom, anxiety, hardship, and binge-watching TV and other screen-based entertainment. While doctors and nurses risk their lives to treat the sick, grocery workers toil to keep shelves stocked, and other essential workers keep society from breaking down, entertainers are trying to do their job, too.

It isn't always entertaining — at least not in the way they probably intended — but the quality of the performances has improved as actors, musicians, and other performers adapt to broadcasting themselves from home. On Monday night — the beginning of Week 3 of the quarantine for many Americans — late night TV hosts started beaming in musical guests, most of whom performed from their own living rooms. At best, the result is an intimate show to fill the time and even stir the heart.

The Late Late Show's James Corden, taping from his garage, checked in with performers around the world — BTS in South Korea, Dua Lipa in London, and tenor Andrea Bocelli in coronavirus-ravaged Italy. "Andrea, is there a message that you'd like to send to the people of Italy or any of the people around the world that are watching this right now?" Corden asked. "I would say, be positive," he said, and hope that "soon everything will be finished." Then he played and sang a lovely rendition of his first hit, "Con Te Partiró."

Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy and his sons Sammy and Spencer performed their song "Evergreen" from their family bathroom for Jimmy Kimmel, and it might just inspire you to try and teach your family to sing in harmony.

John Legend performed a stripped-down version of a new song, "Actions," from his living room for Corden.

OneRepublic was not social distancing when they preformed "Didn't I" for Corden.

And Jon Bon Jovi called in to The Tonight Show from his home studio in New Jersey to talk with Jimmy Fallon about feeding the needy and his crowdsourced coronavirus-crisis song "Do What You Can." Watch below. Peter Weber

8:06 a.m.

Sony Pictures has concluded that when it comes to releasing a new movie, this summer don't look good.

The studio announced this week it's delaying its upcoming film Ghostbusters: Afterlife eight months due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, moving it from its original release date of July 10 all the way to March 5, 2021. Sony has additionally delayed Morbius from July 2020 to March 2021, and Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway from August 2020 to January 2021. Greyhound has also been postponed indefinitely after having set a June 2020 release, and Uncharted has moved from March 2021 to October 2021, per Variety.

These become the latest major Hollywood movies to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, which forced theaters to shutter throughout the country. Just last week, Warner Bros. delayed Wonder Woman 1984 from June, but the studio actually moved it to August, hoping theaters would widely resume operations by that point. With Ghostbusters, though, Sony has opted for a date outside of the summer, and 2020, entirely.

Other major films that have been postponed but not given new release dates in recent weeks include Black Widow and Mulan, while Universal moved the ninth Fast & Furious film from May 2020 to April 2021. Fewer and fewer major blockbusters remain on the calendar for the traditional summer movie season, with two that have yet to move including Top Gun: Maverick and Christopher Nolan's Tenet.

The first major film to experience a coronavirus-related delay was the James Bond movie No Time to Die, which moved from April to November. At that point, theaters were still open in the United States but had closed in China, a major theatrical market. China recently began to reopen some of its movie theaters, only to order them all to close down again not long after. Brendan Morrow

7:13 a.m.

The inspectors general of U.S. federal agencies on Monday tapped Glenn Fine, the acting Pentagon inspector general, to lead the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, a body of 10 inspectors general who will oversee implementation of the massive $2.2 trillion package designed to shelter the U.S. economy from the COVID-19 pandemic. The committee Fine leads is one of three oversight boards Democrats insisted on including in the legislation, which gives Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin broad discretion over where to direct the huge pots of money.

Fine, who was Justice Department inspector general from 2000 to 2011 and has served as acting Defense Department inspector general for the past four years, has a good reputation in Washington. The other two oversight boards set up in the law are a congressional oversight committee, whose five members will be chosen by the Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress, and a "special inspector general" charged with overseeing a $500 loan program for large businesses, states, and local governments. President Trump will pick that inspector general, though the Senate must confirm his nominee.

When Trump signed the law on Friday, he also issued a signing statement claiming the right to block that inspector general from reporting to Congress if the administration "unreasonably" withholds information on how the $500 billion is being disbursed. Under Trump's interpretation of the law, the inspector general can't inform Congress without "presidential supervision," undermining the new watchdog.

Fine's committee will have the broadest authority over the $2.2 trillion law, though, and has been vested with subpoena power and a mandate to conduct audits of all spending and contracts. Any suspected fraud, chicanery, or other wrongdoing will be investigated by the inspector general of the relevant department. "Glenn Fine has a good reputation as a tough federal prosecutor and former DOJ Inspector General, and must exercise his full oversight authority to ensure that the Trump administration implements the CARES Act as intended," Senate Minority Leader Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Monday. Peter Weber

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