Congress Struggles to Finish Stimulus Details; Deal May Come Within 48 Hours

Date: 2020-12-17 19:22:12

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Congressional leaders are working through the final sticking points of a coronavirus relief deal, although the agreement probably won’t come together in time for both chambers to vote before Friday. Still, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and a White House spokesman have said that negotiators are close to a final deal.

People briefed on the talks say the draft of the roughly $900 billion proposal includes $600 in payments for individuals, $300-per-week in supplemental unemployment insurance payments and aid for small businesses, as well as about $17 billion for airlines. But it omits aid to state and local governments and lawsuit liability protection, the two issues that stymied earlier attempts at an agreement.

Current hudles include a Democratic request for federal funds match 100% of FEMA payouts for pandemic-related disasters, as well as the Republican demand to end the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending program by the end of the year. Talks are also hung up on whether the relief bill needs to extend an existing an eviction moratorium if it also includes adequate funds to help renters.

McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy have been speaking through the week to resolve these final issues.

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