How the $2 trillion deal came together — and nearly fell apart

It was going to cost $1 trillion. Late on March 16, five days after the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic, Larry Kudlow — the one-time cable news talker turned top economic advisor to President Donald Trump — was in the Senate’s historic Mansfield room, telling a group of senior GOP senators something they didn’t want to hear. The U.S. economy was going to need a lot of help — and fast. Americans faced dire consequences if Congress didn’t act quickly, warned Kudlow, alongside Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought and White House Legislative Affairs Director Eric Ueland. The senators were stunned and dismayed. Ten days later, the price tag for the Senate’s coronavirus economic rescue package has ballooned to more than $2 trillion, twice what Kudlow initially suggested, making it by far the most expensive spending bill in history.

Politico News - Congress
By John Bresnahan, Marianne LeVine and Andrew Desiderio

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