Bicameral Group Unveils Revised, Two-Part Coronavirus Relief Package

December 15, 2020 by Dan McCue
Inaugural preparations underway at the U.S. Capitol, Nov. 12, 2020. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – A bicameral and bipartisan group of lawmakers unveiled a two-part version of their previously announced $908 billion coronavirus package, hoping the change in structure will help move it through Congress and on to the president by the end of the week.

Progress was the word of the day on Capitol Hill Monday as lawmakers worked to put the finishing touches on a massive federal spending bill and the COVID relief package.

What is anticipated is that both will be passed together as the last significant legislation of both the 116th Congress and Donald Trump’s presidency.

The two-part relief package is the product of intense work over the weekend by about a dozen lawmakers.

Part one is a $748 billion aid package that includes Paycheck Protection Program assistance for struggling businesses, and more money for the unemployed, schools, and for vaccine distribution.

Part two proposes a $160 billion aid package for state and local governments and provisions shielding businesses from COVID-related lawsuits, a provision favored by Senate Republicans.

Splitting the bill in two could make it easier to convince congressional leaders to take up a smaller coronavirus deal and either pass it or add it to the must-pass, omnibus government funding deal.

But the fate of both bills remains uncertain and timing is everything.

Among other things, the first votes on the measures, planned for Wednesday, may coincide with the most significant snow storm to hit D.C. in at least two years.

Even at this hour, negations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are said to be ongoing regarding a number of issues, including a potential second round of direct payments to individuals, a plan for $300 bonus unemployment benefits, and the provisions on state and local aid and business liability that have stymied striking a deal for weeks.

And there’s no guarantee that the completed package will make it to the president before midnight Friday, when the current continuing funding resolution expires and a partial government shutdown would theoretically begin.

If that happened, another continuing resolution would have to be passed to get the bill done. 

On the Senate floor Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “The next several days are going to bring about one of two outcomes.

“Either 100 Senators will be here shaking our heads, slinging blame, and offering excuses about why we still have not been able to make a law … or we will break for the holidays having sent another huge dose of relief out the door for the people who need it,” McConnell said.

Notably, he did not mention the bicameral bill or any of its particulars.

Across the aisle, Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said that he would review the reworked measures, adding Democrats are 100% committed to having a significant relief package signed into law sooner rather than later.

Political News

Capitol Police Step Up Security Ahead of Inauguration
Law Enforcement
Capitol Police Step Up Security Ahead of Inauguration
January 15, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Capitol Police have significantly ratcheted up security throughout the Capitol Complex ahead of next week's presidential inaugural ceremony. Measures include installing unscalable eight-foot tall fencing and the closing of several area roads. The department is also coordinating protection and response capabilities with... Read More

What They're Saying About the Attack on the U.S. Capitol
Political News
What They're Saying About the Attack on the U.S. Capitol
January 7, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Capitol is once again secure, though remnants of the mayhem that transpired Wednesday afternoon and evening remain. Much of the trash left behind by marauding protestors had been swept into piles by Thursday morning, though shards of glass still lay at the... Read More

US Vaccine Train Won't be Derailed, Warp Speed Leader Says
Health
US Vaccine Train Won't be Derailed, Warp Speed Leader Says

Efforts to speedily develop and distribute a coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. won't be derailed by a change in administration, said the head of Operation Warp Speed, the federal government's program aimed at accelerating a COVID-19 jab. "All decisions are made, the train is running. Whether one administration... Read More

Joe Biden Accepts Democratic Nomination Promising ‘We’ll Find The Light Once More’
2020 Elections
Joe Biden Accepts Democratic Nomination Promising ‘We’ll Find The Light Once More’

MILWAUKEE — Joe Biden made his case Thursday for a major course correction in America as he accepted the Democratic presidential nomination, forcefully indicting the Trump administration as he laid out a vision to reunify the nation and restore competence and decency to the White House.... Read More

Trump Scorns Supreme Court on Tax Rulings While His Records Stay Private
Supreme Court
Trump Scorns Supreme Court on Tax Rulings While His Records Stay Private

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump scored a tactical victory from the Supreme Court that will likely keep his personal financial records out of public view through the November election, but he framed Thursday’s two rulings as a loss imposed by his enemies. The president was rebuffed... Read More

COVID-19 Meets the 2020 Election: The Perfect Storm for Misinformation
Social Media
COVID-19 Meets the 2020 Election: The Perfect Storm for Misinformation

SEATTLE — When a mysterious virus began racing around the globe early this year, scientists at the University of Washington’s newly created Center for an Informed Public described it as the perfect storm for bogus information, both innocent and malicious. So what’s the situation six months... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top