Senators Unveil New COVID-19 Relief Proposal (REPORT)

( Some Senators are working toward passing a coronavirus economic relief package before the end of the current term.

On Tuesday, a bipartisan group in the Senate revealed their latest proposal, a $908 billion package that would provide economic support to American businesses and workers who are struggling during the pandemic.

During a press conference announcing the proposal, Democratic Senator Mark Warner, from Virginia, said:

“It won’t make everyone happy. But there’s been an enormous amount of work done.”

The agreement would provide roughly $300 billion for the popular Paycheck Protection Program, $180 billion for an extension to the increase in unemployment benefits ($300 per week for four months), $240 billion for local and state governments, as well as a temporary moratorium on COVID-19 liability lawsuits. That moratorium would give states time to create their own laws.

One thing this bipartisan proposal doesn’t include is a second round of direct stimulus checks to Americans. In the CARES Act passed in March, millions of Americans were sent checks of $1,200, with an additional $500 for each dependent child.

At the same time this proposal was being released, House Democrats were putting together one of their own, as was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. While this action is nice, considering there’s been no movement in negotiations in months, it could also signal that the important parties are going to be far apart from each other since they’re not working together.

In fact, McConnell quickly shot down the bipartisan Senate proposal. He also said that he has spoken to officials at the White House to see what President Donald Trump would be willing to sign into law. He has plans to speak with other GOP Senate members to get their feedback and craft a new proposal.

Congress is facing a deadline of December 11 to approve funding and avoid a potential government shutdown. As such, McConnell said he believes any pandemic relief provisions will go hand-in-hand with the spending bill and “all likely come in one package.”

He told reporters on Tuesday, regarding the bipartisan stimulus package:

“We just don’t have time to waste time.”

But, will McConnell be able to negotiate with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leadership in the House? It’s something that the president’s officials, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, have been unable to do thus far.

At some point, the Senate, House and White House are going to have to get together and sketch something out that all three can agree on and pass. To this point, the Pelosi and Mnuchin have negotiated fiercely on stimulus packages that have totaled close to $2 trillion.

While all this has been going on, though, McConnell has insisted on a much smaller relief package that doesn’t go north of $1 trillion. Many Republicans in the Senate have balked at another huge relief package, which likely wouldn’t garner enough votes at this time — unless they conduct negotiations around it.

This will be a struggle even if Democrat Joe Biden were to become president in January, as it’s likely Republicans will retain control of the upper chamber of Congress.