- Democratic and Republican Senators have reached an agreement on a new $908 billion stimulus package that will provide vital assistance for Americans through the winter.
- The stimulus bill includes $300 a week in unemployment benefits, $240 billion for state and local governments, and $300 billion for the PPP, but no new stimulus checks.
- The bipartisan agreement faces an uphill battle with Washington currently deadlocked and the Trump administration distracted with trying to overturn the election.
With coronavirus infections spiking and millions of Americans on the brink of financial ruin, the Senate might finally be motivated to sign another stimulus bill into law. According to The Washington Post, a bipartisan group of senators will announce a $908 billion stimulus package on Tuesday to provide vital relief to the country.
House Democrats spent much of the summer and fall negotiating with the White House over a stimulus bill that would have cost upwards of $1.8 trillion, but the two parties were unable to come to terms on the language and the benefits the bill would have included. Even if House Democrats and the Trump administration had found common ground, it was unlikely that the Republican-controlled Senate would have passed such a pricey bill.
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As for the new plan, the Post reports that it will provide $300 a week in additional unemployment benefits for the next four months, $240 billion for state and local governments, $300 billion in assistance for small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), $50 billion to help with vaccine distribution as well as coronavirus testing and tracing, and liability protections for businesses against coronavirus-related lawsuits.
One major benefit that is missing from the proposal is another round of $1,200 stimulus checks, but both Democrats and the White House are in favor of this measure, so it might have a chance of being added. After all, this bipartisan proposal is said to serve as “a template for legislation that could pass Congress.”
According to the report, Democratic senators who have signed on to the proposal include Chris Coons of Delaware, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Mark Warner of Virginia, and Angus King of Maine, who is an Independent, but caucuses with the Democrats. On the other side of the aisle, Republicans Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana are in favor.
“We are months past the point where we should have had a bipartisan agreement to provide another robust round of stimulus to meet the needs of America’s schools and students, those who are facing eviction from housing, the needs that communities have got for the distribution of vaccines,” Senator Coons told CNN on Monday.
Whether or not this bipartisan accord stands any chance of producing real legislation remains to be seen, but with the Trump administration laser-focused on overturning the results of the election and a lack of willingness to compromise from Congressional leadership, it will be yet another uphill battle for lawmakers.