KEY POINTS

  • New wording in the coronavirus bill bars Trump from using stimulus funds to help his businesses
  • White House officials and members of Congress are also barred from using the funds
  • The Senate is expected to vote on the bill later Wednesday

As Congress zeroes in on a coronavirus relief bill meant to help Americans and businesses hurting due to the pandemic, Democrats said they have included language taking aim at President Donald Trump. Per the wording, Trump, his family and his connected businesses won’t have access to any of the $2 trillion stimulus included in the bill.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, said a provision barring Trump and his businesses from seeking loans or investments under the relief bill has been added to the bill. Democrats had resisted backing the stimulus effort over concerns that Trump would exploit the funds to aid his own business ventures.

An agreement on that matter, however, was finally reached in the early morning hours Wednesday, paving the way for a Senate vote. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that voting will likely be set for late Wednesday.

The Trump Organization controls various hotels and golf resorts. The president’s two sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, operate the business, though Trump himself has not fully divested from the company. Among the properties operated by the group is Trump’s Palm Beach, Fla., resort Mar-a-Lago.

Trump isn’t the only member of the administration prohibited from using the coronavirus relief funds. According to Schumer, Vice President Mike Pence, Trump’s cabinet members and members of Congress won’t be able to access the money for their own businesses either.

The $2 trillion bill won’t just help struggling businesses. A significant portion will be set aside in order to issue checks to American households. While the details of how this will be done remains to be settled – discussion has focused on how much should be disbursed, who should be able to qualify for aid and how many checks should be sent out – both Congress and the White House have said they want to get money into Americans’ hands as fast as possible.

Currently, Schumer has said that the bill will cover four months of salary for those unable to work.

As the economy flounders, Trump is feeling the pressure to pull Wall Street out of its nosedive and to get Americans back to work. Last week saw unemployment claims total over 200,000 and this week that number could rise to over 2 million. While the stimulus bill is aimed at slowing the economy’s shrinkage, Trump is concerned it won’t be enough and has been floating the idea of having Americans back at work by Easter.

The largest US airlines are pushing President Donald Trump, pictured March 21, 2020, to help them stave off mass layoffs The largest US airlines are pushing President Donald Trump, pictured March 21, 2020, to help them stave off mass layoffs Photo: AFP / JIM WATSON