Second stimulus check: $600 direct payments are back on the table as Congress heads for a long-awaited aid package


Americans can after all receive direct COVID-19 stimulus checks.

Hours after bipartisan congressional leaders wrapped up a long night of in-person talks in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office on Tuesday following months of collapsed deals, lawmakers now say they are headed for a deal of $900 billion which could include stimulus payments of at least $600. to tens of millions of Americans.

Over the weekend, a bipartisan group of lawmakers said they were close to striking a deal that splits previous stimulus proposals in two: nearly $750 billion for unemployment benefits, the distribution of vaccines and small business loans and a package that would provide $160 billion to revenue-strapped states, cities and towns as well as liability protections preventing businesses from being sued for the impacts of the coronavirus. But none of those deals included stimulus checks.

According to the Washington Post, congressional leaders are considering withholding the $160 billion from state and local governments to fund direct payments to Americans. While the money isn’t enough to fund $1,200 checks like those approved in the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act in March, it could pay at least $600 per person, as a proposal from the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Last week.

The move would amount to a compromise for both parties: While many lawmakers want to provide direct stimulus checks, Democrats have opposed corporate liability protections and Republicans have resisted calls to provide a new influx of stimulus. cash to state and local governments.

The latest talks come as Friday’s deadline approaches, forcing Congress to pass a comprehensive final spending bill for the year to avoid a government shutdown.

The Post reported that the senses. Josh Hawley of Missouri, a Republican, and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who fought for the Democratic presidential nomination, have pushed for the inclusion of stimulus checks, as has President Donald Trump.

The Massachusetts delegation has repeatedly asked for stimulus payments from Americans.

The latest negotiations come as many CARES Act benefits, including unemployment extensions, dry up on Boxing Day. They also come seven months after the Democratic-led House passed the $3 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called a “list of liberal wishes” before months of back-and-forth and collapsed talks between Democrats, Republicans and the Trump administration.

“We are making significant progress,” McConnell told reporters around 10 p.m. Tuesday, The New York Times reported. “I am optimistic that we will be able to reach an agreement very soon.”

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