Trump can't use $2 trillion rescue bill to bail out his own hotels


Senate Democrats made sure Trump couldn't exploit the bill meant to help the nation cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

Early Wednesday, Senate leaders and the Trump administration agreed to a $2 trillion emergency rescue package to help the nation recover from the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to a provision pushed by Senate Democrats, that money will not go to bail out Donald Trump's properties.

"Our unity gave us important strength and leverage in negotiations," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wrote in a Wednesday morning letter to his colleagues in support of the legislation. "Since Sunday," he added, Democrats have won "significant improvements to the bill Leader McConnell introduced."

On his list of victories was a provision that bars "businesses controlled by the President, Vice President, Members of Congress, and heads of Executive Departments from receiving loans or investments from Treasury programs."

This means that Trump will not be able to access bailout funds created by the deal for his myriad companies and resorts.

The package will provide hundreds of billions of dollars in loans for corporations and state and local governments struggling due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It will also include four months of unemployment benefits for those who lose work due to the pandemic and provide $1,200 in direct payments to many American citizens.

A New York Times report on Wednesday afternoon noted that while Trump and his businesses won't be eligible for assistance through the main bailout fund, they may still benefit from other parts of the bill.

"For example, certain hotel owners, even those employing thousands of people, will be eligible for small-business loans, a provision that could potentially benefit Mr. Trump’s company. The Trump Organization could also benefit from the $15 billion change to the tax code won by restaurants and retailers," the Times wrote.

Other "improvements" Schumer highlighted in his letter this week included increased worker protections, removal of a $3 billion "bailout for big oil," increased transparency regarding who gets funds, and prohibitions on stock buybacks and CEO bonuses for bailed-out airlines.

The agreement comes after days of testy negotiations over the behemoth bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attempted to force votes on Sunday and Monday on his original version of the bill, but the Democratic minority defeated both cloture vote attempts. On Tuesday, leaders expressed optimism that a deal was close.

The Senate is expected to pass the package on Wednesday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised the deal Wednesday and said House Democrats are now reviewing the legislative text.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told reporters Wednesday that Trump would "absolutely, absolutely, absolutely" sign the bill when it gets to his desk.

This article was updated to include additional information about Trump's ability to access business assistance from other parts of the Senate relief bill.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.