Congressional leaders reportedly have reached an 11th hour, bipartisan deal on a $900 billion coronavirus relief package that could be on the House floor as early as Thursday, with a Senate vote shortly afterward.
The package would be tacked onto a $1.4 trillion omnibus appropriation for the current fiscal year, which needs to pass before a Friday deadline when a stopgap spending limit expires.
GOP Senator Steve Daines of Montana told CNBC the package will include $300 billion in aid to small business, offer a new round of stimulus payments to households and provide funding for vaccine distribution. Left out would be aid to state and local governments, a Democratic priority, and coronavirus lawsuit immunity for businesses, a Republican priority. Daines is a member of the Senate Appropriations and Finance committees.
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois confirmed the tentative agreement and the omission of liability protection for business.
Partisan wrangling has delayed further coronavirus financial relief for months. House Democrats initially approved a $3.4 trillion package and later scaled it back to $2 trillion. Senate Republicans questioned the need for more financial aid and grudgingly suggested a $500 billion measure. A bipartisan group of lawmakers hammered out a $908 billion compromise that included aid to state and local governments and a watered-down version of liability protection. It wasn’t immediately clear who fashioned the latest bipartisan compromise.
As more details emerge, this blog will be updated.