Negotiators near agreement on long-delayed COVID-19 aid bill

From Transport Topics.

Top congressional leaders are closing in on an agreement on a long-delayed COVID-19 relief package, hoping to seal a deal as early as Dec. 16 that would extend aid to individuals and businesses and help ship coronavirus vaccines to millions.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a coauthor of a $908 billion bipartisan package, said leadership negotiators are nearing an agreement that would extend direct payments of $500-$600 to most Americans but would deny Democratic negotiators long-sought aid to state and local governments.

“We made major headway toward hammering out a bipartisan relief package,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky).

The negotiators are closing in on an agreement of around $900 billion, which would include a new round of stimulus checks, enhanced federal unemployment insurance benefits, and other avenues for delivering aid to states, localities, territories and tribes, according to two people familiar with the talks and authorized to characterize them. Their statement said that a GOP-sought provision shielding businesses from COVID-19-related lawsuits would be dropped.

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