Congressional Leaders Meet to Hash Out Covid Relief Before End of Year

Date: 2020-12-18 19:42:47

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Democratic and Republican House leaders said they’ll act to prevent a government shutdown, which could mean passing a stopgap measure to fund federal agencies through at least the weekend while talks on a coronavirus aid package continue.

A dispute over an effort led by Republican Senator Pat Toomey to codify the phase-out of Federal Reserve emergency lending facilities at year-end remains one of the key sticking points on the aid package. Democrats say Toomey’s provision would limit the Fed’s ability to respond to future crises and is the biggest obstacle to getting a deal on the relief package.

Some senators may not go along with another temporary funding extension if it’s needed, Senator John Thune, the chamber’s No. 2 GOP leader, said Thursday. Republican Senator Josh Hawley said he won’t support a stopgap measure unless he can see that the final package includes direct payments to individuals.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans a press briefing at 2 p.m. Friday. She, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, 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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