Congress comes closer to passing economic stimulus package

Congress comes closer to passing economic stimulus package

"We made major headway toward hammering out a targeted pandemic relief package", McConnell said in the Senate.

"I'm encouraged that our Democratic colleagues have now embraced this framework, that's been the right solution for our country all this time", he said.

After months of feuding, US congressional negotiations over final details of a $900 billion COVID-19 aid bill advanced, although it was unclear whether the work could be completed before a fast approaching weekend deadline. Unemployment benefits run out December 26 for more than 10 million people, many businesses are barely hanging on after nine months of the pandemic, and money is needed to distribute new vaccines that are finally offering hope for returning the country to normal. Lawmakers may also extend the federal eviction moratorium and defer student loan payments.

The stakes are incredibly high for members of Congress to strike a deal ahead of the new year. For the millions of Americans already relying on jobless benefits, the situation could be even more dire if two programs that expand and extend the unemployment insurance system expire after next week without congressional action. The agreement is expected to revive lapsed enhanced unemployment benefits at about $300 a week, half of the original benefit approved in March, which lapsed over the summer. Chuck Schumer walks to a meeting in the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the Capitol in Washington on Tuesday, Dec15, 2020.

"It's heartbreaking for us", said Sen. "So, it would take consent obviously to do a short-term CR", the South Dakota Republican told reporters Thursday.

"We're making good progress", said Sen Chuck Schumer of NY, the Democratic leader, in a brief interview Wednesday afternoon as staff exchanged offers and counteroffers. Even as she robotically accused him of being a "radical liberal" a total of 13 times during their recent debate, he repeatedly brought the discussion back to policy issues facing Georgia voters.So it was no surprise that he took a similarly genial approach on Thursday morning during an appearance on The View. These are the liability protections for the businesses that remain open during the pandemic and funding for state and local governments.

"We're not going home until this is done", Sen.

"The stimulus package is encouraging", Biden said Wednesday at an event in Wilmington, Delaware.

Also missing are liability shield provisions that were a priority for Republicans but flummoxed negotiators seeking a compromise. "I really think this is coming to a close, but as you know once you get the agreement and you're drafting up, the language matters". Among the unresolved issues was whether to include a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on legislation that would end the practice of surprise medical billing. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., told reporters Thursday. But she declined to predict a timeline for finishing the COVID-19 aid proposal, saying, "We'll be ready when we're ready".

"Neither one of those would fly", Manchin said.

"I don't want to shut down the government", Hoyer said.

"In the next few days, Congress will either succeed or fail at providing secure and stable funding", McConnell said.

"This bill has a lot in it that is good but, given the enormity of the crises that we face, it simply does not go anywhere far enough", Sanders said.

The US is going through an especially brutal period of Covid-19 cases, hitting more than 3,700 deaths and over 250,000 new infections in 24 hours, according to Johns Hopkins University on Wednesday.

The message from Coons, a confidant of Biden, and a similar message from Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., came as a bipartisan group of lawmakers unveiled a detailed COVID-19 aid proposal on Monday in hopes it would serve as a model for their battling leaders to follow as they try to negotiate a final agreement. "It's the point where each side faces a fork in the road", McConnell said. "I say the answer should be obvious".

Schumer, a New York Democrat, also is pushing for a bipartisan bill known as the "Save our Stages" act for live venue operators and other entities forced to close during the pandemic.

"We are putting the final touches on what would be the largest stimulus bill in the history of our country, with the exception of the CARES Act. none of the remaining hurdles cannot be overcome", he said.

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