After months of failed negotiations, senators are crossing party lines to support more coronavirus relief.
It could be their last chance to help millions of Americans facing a bleak new year if current aid runs out this month.
if passed in its current form, the package would provide more than $900 billion in aid which lawmakers say is desperately needed.
"We are battling COVID-19 more fiercely now than we ever have before," said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)
And that's why these bipartisan senators are putting differences aside and stepping out to push this deal
"We intend to move this forward after months of failing to act for one reason or another. We are not blaming anybody for why they haven't come to an agreement," Manchin said.
"A $908 billion framework for COVID relief. We worked night and day throughout the Thanksgiving recess," said Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME).
The lawmakers say that work paid off, as they outlined the framework for the latest COVID relief package.
"I am particularly pleased that the package includes $228 billion for the paycheck protection program that has helped keep our small businesses afloat and paying their employees that's the most important part," Collins said.
The proposal would provide:
- $288 billion for small businesses
- $180 billion in unemployment insurance which means $300 dollars a week in federal unemployment benefits.
- $160 billion in state and local aid
- $82 billion for schools
- $45 billion for transportation.
"We've worked in the best interests of what we believe is great for our country, is good for our states and we can all go home knowing we have worked diligently to make sure the unemployed, the small business, the state, and local funding," Manchin said
"It would be stupidity on steroids if Congress left for Christmas without doing an interim package as a bridge," said Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)
But economist Stephen Moore disagrees.
"We don't need another stimulus bill. It's the last thing the economy needs right now," Moore told CBN News. "The ultimate stimulus is the vaccine. That's what's going to solve this problem, not massive new government spending."
The plan now needs the stamp of approval from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who released his own version Tuesday which provides a one-month extension of unemployment benefits rather than three months.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would also have to sign off on any agreement. In a statement, she said COVID relief is "long overdue and must be passed in this lame-duck session."
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