Lawmakers Pitch COVID-19 Relief Bill Weeks Before Aid Expires

It's unclear if Congressional leadership or the White House will support the $908B package.
Posted at 4:36 PM, Dec 01, 2020

A group of bipartisan lawmakers pitched a $908 billion COVID-19 relief bill Tuesday, as aid programs fast approach their December expiration dates.

“Our action to provide emergency relief is needed now more than ever before,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va). 

The key features include $300 a week in federal unemployment benefits, $300 billion in small business relief, and $240 billion for state and local governments. It doesn’t provide another stimulus check — something President Trump and Speaker Pelosi have both supported. 

“It’s not going to make everyone happy,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.).

Senators from both sides acknowledged that each party had to make concessions in negotiations. Democrats will get their aid to state and local governments, while Republicans will get liability protections for businesses. 

"The time to borrow money, maybe the only time to borrow money, is where there's a crisis and this is a crisis." said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah).

But that progress won’t mean much if it doesn’t get the support it needs from Congressional leadership or the White House. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin offered vague comments on the bill during a Senate Banking hearing Tuesday morning. 

"I look forward to reviewing with you the overall package. I do think that more fiscal response is needed,” Mnuchin said. 

Meanwhile, new cases of COVID-19 continue to tick up across the country, further threatening the economic recovery.