Stimulus 2: McConnell Says Congress Has ‘Reached an Agreement’

stimulus checks, heavy talis shelbourne

Getty A roll of stimulus checks being prepared.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that Congress has reached an agreement over a second COVID-19 stimulus relief package on Sunday, December 20.

On Sunday evening, December 20, McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that they had reached a deal on a $908 billion stimulus package. McConnell wrote on Twitter, “As the American people continue battling the coronavirus this holiday season, they will not be on their own. Congress has just reached an agreement. We will pass another rescue package ASAP. More help is on the way.” The text of the bill, including details, was not yet released.

“We’re winnowing down the remaining differences … I hope and expect to have a final agreement nailed down in a matter of hours,” McConnell said earlier on December 20, according to CNBC.

The plan is expected to include $600 stimulus checks for qualifying Americans as well as $300 in weekly enhanced unemployment benefits, although those details could change. For months, Republicans and Democrats in Congress have been unable to reach agreement because they were so far apart on the overall cost of the plan.

However, a $908 billion bipartisan compromise proposal may have changed that.

Here’s what you need to know:

McConnell Said Citizens ‘Need This Waiting to End’

On Twitter on the afternoon of December 20, McConnell also expressed optimism that the waiting was close to being over.

“I think both sides agree: Our around-the-clock negotiations on COVID relief are hours away from completion. Our citizens need this waiting to end. Thousands of Americans are being robbed of their lives every day. Working families are hurting. Let’s finally get this done today,” he wrote.

The day before, he wrote, “I appreciate the good-faith spirit that has characterized the bipartisan negotiations this past week. But the American people cannot feed their families or pay their bills with Congress’s good-faith discussions. They need us to act. We need to conclude talks and land this plane.”

A Compromise Over Federal Lending Powers Paved the Way

stimulus 2 Pelosi

GettyHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Republicans and Democrats reaching a compromise over federal lending powers paved the way for a stimulus plan to be approved, according to CNBC.

The site reports that a vote could occur on the stimulus package on Sunday. The stimulus discussions are coming amidst broader discussions about governmental funding. Congress faces a deadline of 12:01 a.m. ET Monday to avoid a government shutdown.

“We’re getting very close, very close,” Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Saturday December 19, according to USA Today.

There was a separate proposal to up the stimulus check amount to $1,200 for each qualifying American. That proposal was pitched by Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri and Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. However, Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin put the kibosh on attempts to have it approved via unanimous consent. The first round of stimulus checks gave Americans $1,200 each if they qualified. They also received an extra $600 weekly in unemployment benefits, but that benefit expired some time ago, although President Donald Trump used his executive authority to controversially keep some of it going for a time at a lesser amount.

For her part, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has continually blamed McConnell for the inability to reach a deal, but both sides have accused the other of intransigence. The other wild card in the situation: Control of the U.S. Senate, which will be determined by two Georgia runoff elections in early January. The deal comes as COVID-19 numbers continue to spike in many states, which are reasserting lockdowns.

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