NEW ORLEANS — Behind every locked up storefront in the French Quarter is a business owner waiting for word from our nation's capitol.
The coronavirus stimulus bill is headed to the house Friday. The senate passed it Wednesday night after days of debate.
Republican Minority Whip Steve Scalise spoke to WWL-TV by phone, and said he's hopeful it will pass without issue in the house.
"I feel very good about the vote. It's gonna be overwhelming on both sides," said Scalise.
Friday is his last day of self-quarantine, after he was potentially exposed to the Coronavirus last week. He hopes the stimulus bill might be the saving grace millions of unemployed people are looking for.
"We had such a great economy, and literally overnight you have millions of people that are out of work. And that's why we need to pass this bill quickly, to try and get as many people back to work as possible and to try and keep those businesses afloat," he said
The bill includes checks or direct deposits to taxpayers, expanded unemployment benefits, aid for independent contractors, small business assistance, funding for food programs and mortgage forbearance.
The pause on mortgages takes a page from the playbook written after Hurricane Katrina.
"Banks will be able to give a loan forebearance to their customers across the nation, just like we did during Hurricane Katrina. And a lot of businesses have told me that's gonna be a true lifeline to them," Scalise said.
Another lifeline, President Donald Trump has promised two 250-bed field hospitals for Louisiana, each with a 60-person medical team, in order to expand surge capacity.
Governor John Bel Edwards made the announcement Thursday.
"The projections show that we're gonna need potentially 1,000 or more hospital beds in the New Orleans region by about the 8th, 9th, 10th of April," said Governor Edwards.
The coronavirus stimulus bill heads to the house Friday.
It does leave a broad timeframe for the Treasury Secretary to get stimulus checks out, but the president is pushing to have them out in the next few weeks.