A bipartisan group of lawmakers is readying a two-part proposal with $908 billion in pandemic relief to help boost the battered U.S. economy. They are planning to release it as soon as Monday so it can be considered by congressional leaders negotiating a final package that can be included in a government spending bill needed by Dec. 18.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke by phone Sunday and plan to speak again Monday. The two have remained optimistic despite months of fruitless discussions.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has suggested that Congress move forward with a bill that doesn’t include the two most controversial provisions: liability protection for employers from virus-related lawsuits and $160 billion in aid for state and local governments.
- Lawmakers to Unveil $908 Billion Pandemic Relief Plan Monday
- Congress Stalemate on Covid Liability Adds to Doubts on Relief
- Senate Passes Stopgap Funding Bill to Avert Federal Shutdown
Lawmakers to Unveil Two-Part Relief Plan (2 a.m.)
A bipartisan group of eight lawmakers plans to split up their $908 billion proposal and release two bills on Monday. One will include just liability protections and the aid for state and local governments. The other will include all the other provisions that have broad consensus, including aid for small businesses.
“We’ll have a bill produced for the American people” on Monday, Senator Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, said on “Fox News Sunday.”
The group worked through the weekend to resolve the differences on these two provisions, which have stymied a deal for months. The next step for the legislation will be for Republican and Democratic leaders to finish negotiating the final package that could get a vote.
While Democrats have endorsed the bipartisan plan as a basis for negotiations, it is unclear whether McConnell would put it on the Senate floor for a vote. McConnell favors Mnuchin’s $916 billion relief proposal, which includes $600 in direct payments to individuals but doesn’t have the $300-per-week supplemental unemployment insurance included in the bipartisan bill.
Lawmakers of both parties have said that the best chance for passing a pandemic-relief bill this month would be to attach it to the 12-bill omnibus package Congress must pass by Friday to fund the government.
The current temporary funding bill for the federal government runs out Dec. 18. Congress is trying to finish work on a full-year $1.4 trillion spending bill by then, with pandemic relief attached. The risk of a shutdown next week hasn’t been eliminated since the talks on the full-year bill have bogged down. Lawmakers could approve another temporary extension.
— With assistance by Tony Czuczka
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