Covid-Relief Plan Talks Down to Final Details: Congress Update

Congressional leaders and their staffs continued working out the details of a nearly $900 billion coronavirus relief plan in anticipation of unveiling it as soon as Thursday.

People briefed on the negotiations say the draft of the proposal includes $600 in payments for individuals, $300-per-week in supplemental unemployment insurance payments and aid for small businesses as well as roughly $17 billion for airlines. But it omits aid to state and local governments and lawsuit liability protection, the two issues that have stymied earlier attempts at an agreement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy have been directly involved in the negotiations, raising prospect for a package that can quickly pass the House and Senate.

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Covid-Relief Plan Talks Down to Final Details (2:00 a.m.)

The principle negotiators on the deal for a pandemic relief bill said they continued to make progress as staff members hashed out details of legislation.

“We’re still close, and we’re going to get there,” McConnell said Wednesday night as he left the Capitol.

The House could move quickly toward a vote once the legislation is written. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, said the goal was a vote on Thursday but that it could slip to Friday.

That would create a tight timeline for the Senate, and it’s possible final passage might not come until the weekend. Because the relief package is being tied to legislation to fund government operations, that means Congress might have to pass another stopgap to avert a partial government shutdown after midnight Friday, when the current funding runs out.

McConnell warned Republican senators in a private call that they should be prepared to work through the weekend, according to a person familiar with the conversation. — Erik Wasson

— With assistance by Erik Wasson, Laura Litvan, Daniel Flatley, and Billy House

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