Deal on $900 billion COVID-19 relief package reached with lower direct payments of $600 – WFTV


Agreement on $900 billion COVID-19 relief package reached with lower direct payments of $600 (DTM)

WASHINGTON- UPDATE: The text of the 5,593-page COVID-19 relief package and omnibus spending bill was released Monday afternoon after a delay due to technical issues. Lawmakers are preparing for a late night as House debate on the bill is expected to begin this afternoon, with votes to follow, before the bill is sent to the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Sunday night that lawmakers had finalized an economic relief package valued at about $900 billion, multiple media outlets reported.

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“More help is on the way. Moments ago, in consultation with our committees, the four Senate and House leaders finalized an agreement for another major bailout for the American people,” McConnell said. , according to the Washington Post.

Barring “last-minute hurdles,” McConnell said lawmakers just had to “finalize the text quickly,” the Post reported.

According to the New York Times, the light stimulus package still provides direct payments and unemployment assistance to individuals, as well as funds for small businesses, hospitals, schools and vaccine distribution.

The deal, reached after a months-long impasse, came just hours before the federal government ran out of funds, the Post reported.

Under the deal, individuals will receive $600 each, half the amount paid out under the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill signed into law in March. A major difference in this second round, however, is that each person in the household receives $600, regardless of age, while parents receive $500 per child in the first round.

The deal restores additional federal unemployment benefits to $300 a week, also half the amount distributed during the first wave of relief, The Times reported.

According to CNN, the compromise will also provide:

• Help for struggling small businesses, including more than $284 billion for Paycheck Protection Program repayable loans and $15 billion “in dedicated funding for performance venues, independent cinemas and cultural institutions” ;

• $25 billion for rent assistance and an extension of the moratorium on evictions;

• $82 billion for education providers such as schools and colleges, including assistance to help reopen classrooms safely;

• $10 billion to help with child care assistance;

• $13 billion increase in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Child Nutrition Benefits;

• $7 billion to boost broadband access to help Americans connect remotely during the pandemic;

• Funding totaling billions of dollars to support coronavirus vaccine distribution, testing and contract tracing efforts, and healthcare workers; and

• A tax credit “to support employers offering paid sick leave”.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued the following joint statement: “We will crush the virus and put money in the pockets of the American people.”

Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told Democrats on a caucus call that the House will vote Monday on the latest COVID-19 relief package as well as the spending bill. $1.4 trillion omnibus for a new fiscal year, CNN reported.

In return for closing the deal in time to adjourn for Christmas, Democrats agreed to omit a direct stream of aid to state and local governments, and Republicans agreed to give up a broad liability shield against coronaviruses, The Times reported.

Additionally, McConnell told the outlet that the legislation should reallocate nearly $500 billion previously allocated under past packages.

McConnell did not say when the legislation would be formally introduced or put to a vote.

“Hopefully we can do it as soon as possible,” he said.

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