Bipartisan lawmakers to introduce $908B coronavirus relief bill Monday

COVID-19 virus illustration. Image: Pixabay

Dec. 13 (UPI) — Sen. Joe Manchin on Sunday said a bipartisan group of lawmakers plan to introduce their $908 billion COVID-19 relief bill on Monday.

Manchin, D-W.Va., told Fox News Sunday the bipartisan negotiators will introduce the bill he said would serve as an emergency measure to help the nation survive the first fiscal quarter of 2021 after a call on Saturday and another on Sunday to “finish things up.”

“The bottom line is there’s a lot of parts to this … You can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” said Manchin. “We’re trying to get through the toughest first quarter of our country that we’ve ever faced. We’ve got people without nutrition, without shelter. We’ve got people without paychecks that are unemployed. We have health care workers. We have schools that need to be attended to. This covers all of that. This is strictly an emergency measure.”

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., hailed the bipartisan nature of the talks while appearing on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday.

“We’re the only one where people have come together from both parties and said, ‘Listen, I’m not with you on that, but if you give me this, I’ll give you that because we’ve gotta do something for the American people,'” said Cassidy.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., backed the bill which calls for $288 billion in small-business support and $180 billion for extended unemployment insurance, among other fiscal appropriations.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, however, opposed the measure, calling for a package that included neither funding for state and local governments nor liability protections for businesses as the White House proposed a $916 billion bill offering both.

House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said the party may be willing to concede state and local funding to pass a relief bill.

“In the legislative process, nobody ever gets everything they want,” Hoyer said. “And, in fact, when you have a divided government and divided Congress, it’s critically important that we deal with these very, very important objectives even if we don’t get, on either side, everything we want.”


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