Congressional leaders were close to completing a deal on COVID-19 relief which is expected to include a second round of stimulus checks.
The package under discussion, along with direct checks, is expected to include $300 a week in enhanced unemployment insurance, funding for schools, small businesses, vaccine distribution, healthcare providers, rental assistance, and other relief measures. At under $900 billion, its size marked a compromise between the two parties’ stances. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “We’re still talking, and I think we’re going to get there.”
According to lawmakers, the aid package under discussion on December 16 was expected to exclude the two issues: funding for state and local governments and liability protections for businesses and other entities operating during the pandemic. But congressional leaders are expected to add a second round of smaller direct checks than the previous one, which provided $1,200 to individuals and $500 per dependent earlier this year. Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-SD) told reporters that he expected the checks would be in the $600 to $700 range per individual.
On December 16, an announcement was expected but failed to materialize as lawmakers across the spectrum struck out details of the spread-out legislation and top negotiators continued to trade offers.
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