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Update: Congress circles $900 billion stimulus plan as government shutdown looms

A rescue package could be delivered within days.

Update: Congress circles $900 billion stimulus plan as government shutdown looms
[Photo: Unsplash]
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As of midday Wednesday, decision-makers on Capitol Hill were circling an agreement on a coronavirus relief package that could be shuttled to the White House within days, news sources report.

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The prospective package will hopefully be delivered after seven long months of congressional gridlock. Legislators are currently under pressure to materialize both a relief bill before the holidays, and a federal spending bill before the government runs out of money on Friday. They were already forced to pass a stopgap measure last week to buy more time.

According to CNN, the price tag for the stimulus could total $900 billion, which splits the numbers proposed by Democrats and Republicans over months of partisan squabbling, but falls far below earlier demands from Democratic leadership. Based on a bipartisan proposal unveiled earlier this week, the bill will likely include $300 unemployment benefits for 16 weeks and replenished funds for the Paycheck Protection Program, but exclude liability protections that the GOP had sought for businesses whose workers contract COVID-19. Members of Congress, however, have shied away from confirming any details before a final deal.

Multiple sources say that individual stimulus checks are also on the table, although the amount is reportedly undecided within the $600-$700 range.

The four major players involved—House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy—are expected to convene in a matter of hours, and could muscle out a deal later today. Rank-and-file lawmakers in both chambers would then have to vote on the package.

This story is developing…