After months and months of negotiations, Congress may finally have a coronavirus deal.
Earlier Wednesday, congressional leaders pledged to stay in Washington until they passed a coronavirus stimulus bill and a package to fund the government. But they may not have to stay late after all, as Politico reports negotiators are "on the brink" of a new coronavirus relief bill that includes direct stimulus payments to Americans.
The last coronavirus relief bill expired at the end of July, and some of its unemployment provisions were set to run out at the end of December. A breakthrough in stagnating negotiations came last month as a group of bipartisan senators worked out a $760 billion relief package that Democratic leaders and some Republicans agreed to support. As of Wednesday, that package has increased to $900 billion, but details are scant, CNN reports. It will likely exclude the liability shield for businesses facing coronavirus-related lawsuits that Democrats opposed, as well as local and state funding Republicans weren't fans of. And while senators on both sides of the aisle demanded another round of stimulus checks, they may not be happy with how small they are.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), one of the centrist senators who organized the original bipartisan bill, affirmed to CNN on Wednesday that congressional negotiators will "maybe" agree to some direct payments "in lieu of state and local" funding. He wasn't sure exactly how much the checks would be, but said they "wouldn't be more than $1,200," and would likely be in the "$500-600 range." Kathryn Krawczyk