GOP lawmakers continue to debate direct checks as part of a stimulus package: Gasparino
Sources tell FOX Business’ Charlie Gasparino that GOP lawmakers want most of the stimulus package directed at small business aid and extended unemployment payments.
Congressional leaders on Monday unveiled a final agreement on a roughly $2.4 trillion spending package that includes $900 billion in coronavirus relief after a half-year of stalemate, securing another tranche of aid as a surge in COVID-19 infections threatens to further derail the nation's sputtering economy.
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The House is expected to move swiftly to pass the bill on Monday night. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has pledged that lawmakers won't leave the Capitol until the bill is passed, giving lawmakers and their offices just a few hours to review the massive 5,593-page bill.
The measure includes $284 billion in forgivable loans for small businesses through the popular Paycheck Protection Program; an extension of boosted federal unemployment benefits at $300 a week through March 14 and a second $600 stimulus check for Americans earning less than $75,000. On top of that, there's new funding for the airline industry, education, health care and vaccine distribution.
It also includes $25 billion in rental assistance for millions of families struggling to stay in their homes during the pandemic and extends an eviction moratorium that was poised to sunset at the end of the year through Jan. 31, 2021.
The legislation notably excludes two of the thorniest issues, which have plagued negotiations for months: funding for state and local governments and a liability shield for businesses against coronavirus-related lawsuits.
The 11th-hour deal, reached Sunday evening, comes after days of in-person meetings on Capitol Hill between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
12 MILLION AMERICANS FACE LOSS OF UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS
Both chambers are expected to approve the measure, which will keep the government funded for the remainder of the fiscal year, and send it to President Trump's desk for his approval.
The deal comes at an increasingly perilous time for the nation as it teeters on the brink of another economic downturn.
Job growth is slowing — the economy created just 245,000 new jobs in November, the smallest amount since the recovery began, according to the Labor Department — state and local governments are implementing new lockdown measures, more Americans are filing for unemployment aid and key lifelines that propped up the economy in the early days of the pandemic are poised to expire at the end of the year.
That includes the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a program created to provide jobless benefits to gig workers and others typically not eligible for benefits, and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which extends state unemployment benefits an extra 13 weeks. The $900 billion compromise bill will extend those programs through the spring.
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This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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