“We make major headway to roll out a targeted relief package,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also said that negotiators are close to an agreement. He also said that his party would insist on a big deal next year when Joe Biden assumes the presidency.
Schumer described the urgency to address the current “emergency” situation after about eight months, saying, “It’s not a deal yet. But we’re very close. For Democrats, it’s always the American people in need of relief.” is.” A new trench covid without excitement. “We Democrats would like to go much further.”
Direct checks will potentially be less than the $ 1,200 per person included in the previous relief package – likely to be around $ 600 – to keep the cost of the bill in check. President Donald Trump was eager to send the check to the Americans, and has drawn support from liberals such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) And Republicans like Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.). The Congressional Progressive Caucus has also demanded direct payment to individuals, but it is unclear whether liberals will be molested with such an amount.
The expansion of unemployment benefits is also a part of the package under negotiation. Congress is also likely to give another round Weekly unemployment payments boosted According to two people familiar with the negotiations, which missed earlier this year would be lower than the $ 600 level approved by Congress earlier this year.
The deal would include large sums for small businesses, vaccine distribution, education, transportation and health care.
Negotiations proceeded rapidly. Four Congressmen – McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Schumer, met on the telephone late Tuesday night at the Capitol with Treasury Secretary Steven Menuchin.
Negotiators are in the running to come to an agreement that will ride with a year-long, $ 1.4 trillion funding bill that needs to be passed on Friday. Pelosi wants votes by the end of the week, but the situation is still moving fast.
The two most controversial items – funding for state and local governments and a liability shield for businesses – remain out of agreement. State and local funding was a priority for Pelosi, Shumer and other Democrats, while Republicans wanted a liability shield. McConnell suggested dropping both, and a bipartisan group that presented an outline for leadership talks to Congress also rejected two controversial provisions.
This emerging agreement does not include that pot of money as originally envisaged, but Democratic negotiators say they have provided other aid to states in the bill. Republicans have vowed to fight for a liability shield and Democrats for more state and local aid next year when Biden is sworn in as president and pivots to face the precarious economic situation in the United States.
Sarah Ferris contributed to this report.