Senators Reach Agreement on Key Component of Stimulus Deal, Finalizing Details

Senators Reach Agreement on Key Component of Stimulus Deal, Finalizing Details
The U.S. Capitol dome is seen at night in Washington on Dec. 17, 2020. (Erin Scott/Reuters)
Zachary Stieber

Top senators on Saturday reached an agreement on a key component of the COVID-19 relief package, clearing the way for a potential vote in both chambers on Sunday.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) confirmed that the parties reached an agreement on a component pushed by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) to end Federal Reserve relief programs at the end of the year.

The programs can be restarted next year, but only with congressional approval, Toomey said on the Senate floor after getting criticized by Democrats who said he was holding up a deal on the package.

“Now that Democrats have agreed to a version of Sen. Toomey’s important language, we can begin closing out the rest of the package to deliver much-needed relief to families, workers, and businesses,” Doug Andres, a spokesman for McConnell, told news outlets in a statement.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters in Washington late Saturday that the parties were “getting very close.”

“If things continue on this path, and nothing gets in the way,” passage of the fresh relief bill, pegged at approximately $800 billion to $1 trillion, could pass Sunday, he added.

McConnell during a rare Saturday session said Americans need Congress “to conclude our talks, draft legislation, and land this plane.”

The package could be passed by itself or as part of a government funding package that has been pushed back twice by the passage of stopgap bills.

The government will shut down at midnight on Sunday unless the funding package is passed.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told members that the House will vote no earlier than 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Conversations are ongoing regarding the omnibus, or the funding package, and the COVID-19 relief package, he said, promising to provide further information on Sunday morning.

Some senators, led by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), are pushing to include a new round of $1,200 stimulus checks in the relief bill.

President Donald Trump said on Twitter just after midnight that Congress needs to get a stimulus bill passed.

“GET IT DONE, and give them more money in direct payments,” he wrote.

Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) took to to the platform soon after, sharing an article about how a compromise has been reached on a relief package.

“Hallelujah! After all these arduous months, we have finally reached agreement and will be voting as soon as this afternoon to keep our government funded, send aid to so many millions in need, and set our country on the road to recovery,” he said.

Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news. Contact Zachary at [email protected]
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