The Show goes on…Joseph Zeballos of the Business Insider recaps where Congress stands in implementing a 2nd Relief Package to American citizens. In the words of Joe Namath, “we guarantee” (facetiously) that the package will be passed by this due date (Friday at midnight) because these “lawmakers” would like to receive their paychecks for the Holiday break. Here’s the report:
- Republicans and Democrats are nearing a deal on a $900 billion package that could include $600 direct payments for Americans, The Washington Post reported.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed optimism on Tuesday about the negotiations among congressional leaders.
- “We’re making significant progress, and I’m optimistic that we’re going to be able to complete an understanding sometime soon,” McConnell said.
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Republicans and Democrats were nearing a deal on a $900 billion relief package on Wednesday morning, The Washington Post reported. It would be a breakthrough in last-minute negotiations among congressional leaders.
Negotiations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy picked up on Tuesday – they met twice in Pelosi’s office for several hours.
The package would include $600 checks, The Post reported, but is likely to exclude two of the most controversial issues: assistance for state and local governments, and a sweeping liability shield for firms from virus-related lawsuits.
There’s been growing calls in Congress to include direct payments in a final rescue package over the last two weeks, since the initial $908 billion bipartisan framework excluded them. Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri have threatened to hinder must-pass spending bills if their plan for $1,200 checks was not brought to a vote.
Their push coincides with another from a group of progressive lawmakers in the House, who urged Congressional leaders in a letter obtained by Business Insider to include $2,000 stimulus checks and provide immediate relief to struggling Americans.
McConnell struck an optimistic tone on the negotiations on Tuesday evening. “We’re making significant progress, and I’m optimistic that we’re going to be able to complete an understanding sometime soon,” McConnell told reporters on Capitol Hill.
A group of bipartisan lawmakers attempted to end the logjam over a new federal rescue package by introducing two separate bills on Monday. One contained $748 billion in funding with provisions that most lawmakers support, and the other included the liability shield and state funding. Those pair of issues has divided both parties.
Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, a leader of the bipartisan group, told Business Insider the $748 billion package would form a blueprint for a final deal on Wednesday afternoon.
“The leader said today that it will be the spirit of what is put together by the four corners, so I expect you’ll see major elements of that in the final package,” he said in a brief interview on Capitol Hill, referring to McConnell and the three other congressional leaders.
Lawmakers have until midnight on Friday to pass spending legislation or many parts of the federal government will shut down. Congressional leaders aim to merge the pandemic relief plan with an omnibus bill to fund federal agencies into September.
- Joseph Zeballos