Congress is engaged on a $ 900 billion reduction plan
Congressional leaders signed a $ 900 billion coronavirus deal on Wednesday as millions of struggling Americans await aid.
The development aid agreement would not include corporate liability protection or aid to state and local authorities, CNBC confirmed. Disagreements on these two issues have prevented lawmakers from drafting a year-end bailout.
“We have made great strides in devising a targeted pandemic relief package that can pass either house by a bipartisan majority,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Said in the Senate Wednesday after a night of talks between the two Top four conference leaders.
According to McConnell, Chuck Schumer, Chairman of the Senate Minority, DN.Y., said “we are close to an agreement,” but noted, “the deal is not yet closed.” He added that Democrats “would have liked to have gone much further” to offer relief and will press for further aid after President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20.
The move would include some direct payment to Americans as well as improved federal unemployment insurance, NBC News reported. In addition, Montana Republican Senator Steve Daines told CNBC that the deal would include approximately $ 300 billion in small business aid, including Paycheck Protection Program loans, money to distribute Covid-19 vaccines, and testing and relief for hospitals .
“I’m cautiously optimistic that this $ 900 billion package will be released today, and this will likely be passed before we go home this weekend,” Daines told CNBC’s Squawk Box on Wednesday morning.
Congress has rushed to find consensus on legislation to fund government and rescue a health system and economy collapsing under the pandemic. If lawmakers fail to act, the government will shut down on Saturday, 12 million people will lose unemployment benefits the day after Christmas, and millions more could face eviction.
Congress finally moved closer to an emergency aid deal after negotiations Tuesday night between McConnell, Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., And Minority Chairperson Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. Republicans and Democrats had failed for months to make headway towards a bill that could come through a divided Congress. But they seemed to be getting closer to a deal during their conversations.
After the talks, McConnell and Schumer said they had hoped to reach an agreement “soon”.
Politico first reported that Congress leaders were close to a $ 900 billion deal. Parts of the bill appear to reflect a bipartisan plan released by ordinary lawmakers this week. However, this proposal did not include direct payments.
The measure, which is being developed by congressional officials, will include stimulus checks for individuals, which, according to NBC, could be around $ 600 per person.
Progressive Congressmen have urged party leaders to include direct payments in all legislation. Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., And Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Have also threatened to delay the passing of a bill that doesn’t include a second deposit of $ 1,200 for most Americans.
At this point, the Senate would likely need unanimous assistance to pass a bill fast enough to meet the Friday midnight deadline. It remains to be seen how a potentially lesser review of incentives or the exclusion of state and local relief would affect legislative support this week.
Lawmakers cannot send aid to millions of Americans soon enough. The economy has taken a blow in the face of an uncontrolled coronavirus outbreak that killed more than 300,000 people in the U.S.
With millions still not getting back jobs they lost at the start of the pandemic, long lines have formed at food banks across the country. Many Americans stay in their homes because of eviction moratoriums but don’t have the money to pay the rent they owe.
In addition, the Covid vaccine distribution, which began this week and gave Americans a glimmer of hope that the crisis could ease in the coming months, will depend on additional federal funding.
– CNBC’s Ylan Mui contributed to this report
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