Covid Stimulus: What’s at Stake for Democrats and Republicans in Aid Package?

Date: 2020-12-15 22:18:44

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Pelosi has invited the other top three congressional leaders — McConnell, McCarthy and her fellow Democrat Schumer — to a 4 p.m. meeting to discuss the Covid-19 relief package and an omnibus spending bill to fund the government after a stopgap measure runs out on Friday, according to congressional aides.

Pelosi and Schumer haven’t said whether they will accept a bipartisan group’s proposal to proceed with a $748 billion Covid-19 assistance package and set aside $160 billion in state aid along with coronavirus liability protections for employers. McConnell had previously floated that separation.

Also outstanding is whether stimulus checks might be added to the aid package, as some lawmakers have called for. Meantime, differences still need to be addressed in the omnibus spending bill — though negotiators removed the biggest roadblock on Monday, regarding whether $12.5 billion in spending for Veterans Affairs would be subject to a $1.4 trillion budget cap. Republicans succeeded in keeping it included in the cap, while Democrats said that the pay-fors in doing so were gimmicks and didn’t touch vital programs.

Two of the final sticking points on the spending bill involve Davis-Bacon Act requirements that wages for public works projects equal prevailing local levels and whether to include an agreement to curtail surprise medical bills. — Billy House and Erik Wasson

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