Congress close to striking deal on next round of COVID-19 relief

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — U.S. House and Senate leadership are on the cusp of striking a COVID-19 relief deal after months of back-and-forth.

The $900 billion relief package would include another round of stimulus checks, expanded unemployment and more help to small businesses.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said lawmakers will likely work through the weekend to finalize the deal.

“We’re going to stay right here until we’re finished,” he said.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, is urging U.S. House and Senate leadership on both sides of the aisle to negotiate a deal that addresses the real concerns of struggling Americans.

“[We need unemployment funding to be extended], we can’t have those benefits lapse at the end of the year, small businesses in Connecticut need another round of funding, and then some way, some how we’ve got to get money down to the states,” Murphy explained. “While many, if not all of the difficult topics are behind us, a few final issues must be hammered out.”

Both sides say they’re making progress by leaving out key provisions like liability protections and aid to state and local governments, which has held back progress for months.

“When the $160 billion of state and local aid was taken off the pot, that made there be headroom in the package,” Rep. Tom Reed, R-New York, said.

Reed said he’s optimistic the relief package is on its way that will include another round of stimulus checks to Americans.

“We’re going to be voting here in the House and then it’s up to the Senate to get this to the president’s desk,” he said.

Reed said those direct checks will be in the $600 to $700 range.

“There’s a great amount of relief in there and we’re going to go into the new year with that type of relief being delivered,” he said.

Lawmakers currently face a deadline of midnight on Friday.

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