They are rushing to close a deal because they have to pass a new spending bill Friday night at midnight in order to avoid a government shutdown. House Democrats sought a much larger stimulus package before the election but have softened their stance since President-elect Biden won, hoping to get some immediate relief.
The inclusion of these direct payments comes at a time when congressional leaders appear likely to cut new aid to states and cities from the bill, giving lawmakers more money to work with while keeping the total cost of the package under $ 1 trillion. Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin had suggested the inclusion $ 600 incentive checks In the package last week, Democrats opposed the measure at the time because the White House wanted to cut unemployment aid as well.
One person familiar with the negotiations said the agreement would include “other ways to provide assistance” to states, cities, regions and tribes, but did not provide details.
Cutting aid to countries and cities from the emerging deal will save nearly $ 160 billion in funds that could be used for direct payments. With that amount of money, lawmakers would be able to pay for incentive checks that are about half the size of the $ 1,200 checks approved in March, or $ 600 per person. But discussions were underway on Capitol Hill about the exact size of the payments.
Legislators are also looking to add funds to the bill that can be used for distribution Corona Virus Vaccines this year.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D – California) Hosted hours of meetings Tuesday with the other three big leaders in Congress – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R. Kentucky), Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DNY) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R. California). The negotiators described those talks as fruitful.
In a speech on Wednesday, Schumer said that “the finish line is close to the horizon,” while McConnell also gave an optimistic assessment of the talks.
“We Democrats wanted to go much further,” Schumer said, “but this will not be the last time Congress has spoken of relief for people living with the virus. We need to address this emergency right now.”
With some exceptions, the package is likely to resemble bipartisan legislation led by Senators Mitt Romney (Utah) and Joe Mansion (DW.Va.), in conjunction with other members of the House and Senate. This bill would allocate hundreds of billions in aid to small businesses and unemployed Americans, along with tens of billions for education, transportation, and other essential needs.
The package is expected to include a clause intended to address “surprise” medical bills, as health care providers charge patients – including some in search of emergency care. This problem is exacerbated when insurance companies do not have pre-concluded contracts with this provider. This phenomenon has grown as private equity firms purchase service provider networks and drive revenue to increase.
The bipartisan compromise expected to be included in the bill has been in development for more than a year, pitting insurance companies against private equity firms and groups of doctors into a costly PR and lobbying battle. The legislation is expected to limit most bills to the “measurement” of rates calibrated to the rates within the network paid by insurers, rejecting the approach favored by doctors and their financial backers who could have sent disputed bills to an independent arbitrator.
The potential inclusion of stimulus checks comes after a bipartisan push on the part of Senators Josh Hawley (R. Mo.) And Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Who threatened to legislate government spending to ensure a vote on a second round of stimulus checks. President Trump has also pushed for another round of stimulus checks to be included in the final package, as have some left-leaning lawmakers in the House of Representatives. Hawley pressed the President directly to include another round of stimulus checks in the final legislation.
Some lawmakers have not prioritized approval of another round of stimulus payments on the grounds that it also goes to Americans who have not lost their jobs and do not need them. Manchine Axios said Earlier this week, lawmakers had to make concessions and unemployment benefits were much more important to help those in distress due to the pandemic. “This is an emergency bill,” Manchine said.
Proponents of stimulus checks have argued that they are also important because they also help tens of millions of families struggle with falling wages and working hours, as well as job losses. Mnuchin also argued that stimulus checks are more efficient, given the well-documented challenges that unemployed Americans face with state unemployment systems. But some studies in the first round of stimulation assays have shown this Mixed results.
Lawmakers must reach agreement on legislation with broad bipartisan support if they want the bill to pass smoothly quickly. They face a tight deadline to reach a final compromise, as unemployment benefits for up to 12 million workers are set to expire by the end of the year. Congress also has a Friday night deadline to pass the legislation before the government closes.
McCarthy said late Tuesday evening that the negotiations are going “really well”. McConnell noted “significant progress” in the talks later Tuesday evening, too.