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Bipartisan Lawmakers Put Forth $908 Billion COVID-19 Relief Package

December 10, 2020

In an attempt to break the logjam on a COVID-19 relief package before Congress adjourns, a group of bipartisan lawmakers put forth a $908 billion relief package that seems to be a middle-ground between the Democrats’ $2 trillion and Senate Republicans’ $500 billion proposals from earlier in 2020. But while the agreement seems to split key differences, it has yet to secure the necessary backing of leadership, raising continued questions as to whether or not a deal may be possible.

The framework’s highlights include the following:

  • Funding for state and local government
  • Extension of unemployment assistance
  • Modification of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) under the Small Business Administration
  • Funding for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, testing and tracing
  • Extension of student loan forbearance from January 31 to April 30, 2021

The deal’s release came as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) offered to drop the two most contentious issues in negotiations thus far — liability protection, and funding for state and local governments. However, this offer was refused by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Shortly thereafter Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin offered a larger relief proposal of $916 billion, supported by McConnell and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), which includes $600 stimulus checks for qualifying individuals, funding for states and localities, and liability protections.

In contrast, the bipartisan agreement does not include a stimulus check, but instead an additional $300 per week in federal supplemental benefits to be given between December 2020 and April 2021, with no retroactive payments. It also extends the federal pandemic unemployment program for 16 weeks, which is set to expire otherwise at the end of December. Mnuchin’s proposed stimulus check of $600 would be paid for by cutting the $300 a week in supplemental unemployment aid.

Read the full article on the Faegre Drinker website.