Senate Stimulus Act: The momentum for a cross-party compromise is growing

Graham said he was “never more hopeful that we would get a bill … the $ 908 billion bill that I endorse.” He said he had spoken “extensively” with President Trump about the measure.

The two leading Congressional Democrats – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) And Senate Minority Chairman Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) – on Wednesday called the bipartisan offer an adequate basis for business negotiations, a marked withdrawal from their earlier calls for a very large stimulus package. President-elect Joe Biden has also urged lawmakers to come to an interim agreement during the session of Congress on lame ducks.

Trump also supported the swift approval of an economic stimulus package on Thursday. A White House spokesman made it clear that Trump was speaking in favor of the tight measure introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Rather than the bipartisan stimulus plan.

“I think we’re getting very close. I want it to happen, ”Trump told reporters.

On Thursday, Ernst and Cornyn expressed their moderate support for the talks developing. Ernst, a member of the Senate Republican leadership team, didn’t oppose the feasibility of the $ 908 billion framework, despite expressing concerns about some of its policy provisions. Cornyn also said that high-level Democrats’ acceptance of the bipartisan plan “represents progress.”

“I think it’s moving in the right direction,” Cornyn said, adding that he remained concerned about the structure of state and local funding.

Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, also signaled that he was ready to accept the bipartisan framework if the details are right. “It’s a bit high for me, but more important to me are the things that are in it. And if everything in it has bipartisan support … the number may not be the biggest thing, ”he said.

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Cramer, an ally of the president, was also positive about the move: “I like the effort. It’s the right balance between compromise and a number that is feasible. “

Although the bipartisan package has suddenly gained momentum since Tuesday, it is still an incomplete legislative proposal that has not yet been formulated as formal law. The rapid mobilization of support, however, shows how lawmakers on both parties are trying to find a compromise quickly after months of inaction.

Coronavirus cases are on the rise in the US and concerns about the possible economic impact have increased. Congress also faces a number of rapidly approaching economic deadlines. Aid programs for unemployed Americans and renters will expire before the end of the year.

After talks between the leaders of Congress had stalled for months, a non-partisan group led by Senator Joe Manchin (D-Wva.) Unveiled the compromise measure to resume negotiations on Tuesday. The plan would provide nearly $ 300 billion for another round of small business aid. $ 160 billion for state and local governments; fund federal unemployment benefits at $ 300 per week; and spend tens of billions of dollars on other priorities like childcare, hunger and vaccine distribution.

It also includes temporary liability coverage to protect businesses and other businesses from coronavirus-related lawsuits, a move Democrats strongly oppose, despite lawmakers still working out details on this and other guidelines. However, the bipartisan proposal would not include a new round of stimulus reviews.

In a keynote address Thursday morning, McConnell did not reveal his position on the bipartisan framework but urged lawmakers to swiftly approve additional economic aid. McConnell circulated a separate plan on Wednesday that sharply violated key Democratic priorities and did not suggest additional spending on additional federal unemployment benefits.

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“Compromises are within reach. We know where we can agree. We can do it, “said McConnell.

Pelosi and McConnell discussed approving the government spending package and a coronavirus stimulus law “as soon as possible,” a Pelosi spokesman said on Twitter.

Pelosi was optimistic that a spending deal could be reached by December 11th: “We will reach an agreement. I do not know when. “

McConnell has not said whether he will put the Manchin-led plan to the vote, but faces pressure from conservatives in his rank to pull the legislation to the right. Conservative senators have already objected to the proposed state and local aid plan, even though the framework calls for far less than the Democrats have sought.

Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Susan Collins (R-Me.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) are among the leading figures in the bipartisan effort. However, not all legislators support the measure.

“I am very disappointed that a proposal from some of my colleagues today appears to include provisions that are spending hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayers’ money to save wasteful states,” said Senator Rick Scott (R-Fla.), One of the Conservatives, said in a statement on the bipartisan proposal.

Ernst told the reporter she was ready to accept any form of aid to state and local governments, albeit with guard rails, to ensure funding is targeted for covid-related needs. She also expressed concern about the language regarding the isolation of businesses and other businesses from covid-related lawsuits.

“We still have a long way to go, but I would like to see something before the end of the year,” said Ernst.

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In a keynote address on Thursday, Schumer reiterated that he was of the opinion that an agreement based on this could be brought within reach.

“Because of the cross-party talks that these eight senators have held, we are already much closer to an agreement,” said Schumer. “And we can expand their dynamism.” What’s the alternative? “

More than 200,000 Americans tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday, almost every day since the pandemic began. And nearly 3,000 Americans died from the virus on Wednesday, a level that is unlikely to subside in the coming weeks.

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