Congress has again postponed the vote on incentives and state funding.
While lawmakers originally faced a self-imposed December 18 deadline to do both things, they postponed those again by passing another short-term spending bill on Friday. Since the leaders of Congress had extended an earlier deadline for government funding, they only approved a two-day addition. Now the House and Senate have a little more time to pass the spending legislation and the stimulus bill that they want to pass.
The latest rolling resolution aims to maintain government funding until the end of the day on Sunday, December 20th. Legislators have announced that they hope to have resolved their differences over a coronavirus relief deal by then, with leaders signaling that the earliest vote they plan to hold would take place on Sunday afternoon.
"I think we're about to reach an agreement. I think two more days would give us time to get this done and people time to read," said Kevin McCarthy, minority chairman on Friday.
Top lawmakers from both parties had only started serious negotiations on this economic agreement earlier this week, and the end of the term was near. (The $ 1.4 trillion government finance bill has now proven less controversial.)
The expected stimulus bill, expected to be around $ 900 billion, won't include the controversial corporate liability protections or state and local aid schemes, although it is expected to include more funding for small business unemployment insurance support and another round of stimulus checks .
The legislature now has two days to clarify the remaining sticking points.
What is still being worked on?
Although the most controversial provisions have been removed from the bill, there are still some issues that lawmakers are debating.
As the Washington Post reports, some of the ongoing negotiations are focused on the number of weeks of Extended Unemployment Insurance (UI) the bill would cover: while an earlier bipartisan bill provided an additional $ 300 to UI for 16 weeks, the coverage was in A final compromise calculation could be much shorter.
There is also ongoing disagreement over the amount that would be included in another round of stimulus testing, with Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) pushing for $ 1,200 in payments, while the leadership plan was originally $ 600 Options offered. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) twice declined $ 1,200 in payments Friday, citing concerns about gaining the deficit, an issue on which most Americans disagree.
Despite these delays, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have insisted that they commit to providing more stimulus, even if that means staying longer in the session. There is of course no guarantee that the discussions will be concluded by Sunday. At this point, nine months have passed since lawmakers passed its last major bailout package. Nine months in which millions of people were laid off and tens of thousands of companies struggled to shut down.