Biden Transition Live Updates: Congress Reaches a Deal on Stimulus Package




Congress Reaches Deal on $900 Billion Coronavirus Relief Plan

Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, said on Sunday evening the stimulus package would include direct payments for Americans.

More help is on the way. Moments ago, in consultation with our committees, the four leaders of the Senate and the House finalized an agreement. It would be another major rescue package for the American people. As our citizens continue battling this coronavirus this holiday season, they will not be fighting alone. We’ve agreed to a package of nearly $900 billion. It is packed with targeted policies that help struggling Americans who have already waited entirely too long. For workers at the hardest-hit small businesses, there will be a targeted second draw of the Paycheck Protection Program. We’ve not worked so hard to save as many jobs as possible all these months only to fumble the ball with vaccinations already underway. Speaking of vaccines, we can nullify the success of Operation Warp Speed by falling asleep at the switch on distribution, so this agreement will provide huge sums for the logistics that will get these lifesaving shots to our citizens as fast as possible. Of course, many millions of Americans have lost their jobs and are continuing to lose them through no fault of their own. This package will renew and extend a number of the additional important federal unemployment benefits that have helped families stay afloat. Across all kinds of families, in all kinds of situations, this has been a difficult time across the board. So at the particular request and emphasis President Trump and his administration, our agreement will provide another round of direct-impact payments to help households make ends meet and continue our economic recovery.

Video player loading
Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, said on Sunday evening the stimulus package would include direct payments for Americans.CreditCredit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Congressional leaders said they had reached agreement on Sunday on a $900 billion stimulus package that would provide direct payments and jobless aid to struggling Americans and badly needed funds for small businesses, hospitals, schools and vaccine distribution, overcoming months of stalemate on a measure intended to boost the pandemic-battered economy.

The agreement, struck after a renewed flurry of talks broke a partisan logjam that had persisted since the summer, came hours before the federal government was set to run out of funds. Once drafted, it was expected to be merged with a sweeping catchall spending measure that would keep the government funded for the remainder of the fiscal year, creating a $2.3 trillion behemoth whose passage will be Congress’s last major act before adjourning for the year.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, announced the agreement Sunday evening on the Senate floor, declaring, “We can finally report what our nation has needed to hear for a very long time: More help is on the way.”

With additional time needed to transform their agreement into legislative text, both chambers were expected later Sunday to approve a one-day stopgap spending bill — their third such temporary extension the last 10 days — to avoid a government shutdown while they were finalizing the deal.

The House could vote as early as Monday on the final spending package, and the Senate was expected to follow shortly afterward, sending it to President Trump for his signature.

While the text was not immediately available, the agreement was expected to provide stimulus payments of $600 to American adults and children and revive supplemental federal unemployment benefits at $300 per week — half the level of aid delivered by the $2.2 trillion stimulus law enacted in March, as the coronavirus pandemic’s devastating health and economic impact was just coming into focus.

It also would extend two federal unemployment programs that expanded and extended regular benefits, and would have lapsed next week without action by Congress. The agreement includes rental and food assistance, as well as billions of dollars for schools and small businesses, reviving the Paycheck Protection Program, a federal loan program that lapsed this year.

While the deal marked a triumphant moment in talks that had long been stalled, it was far narrower than the one Democrats had long insisted upon, and nearly twice the size of the one Republicans had said they could ever accept. Democrats had refused for months to scale back their demands for a multitrillion-dollar package, citing the devastating toll of the virus, and Republicans dug in against another large infusion of federal aid, pointing to the growing deficit.

But in the end, the crucial breakthrough came just before midnight on Saturday, when Republicans dropped an effort to ban the Federal Reserve from establishing certain emergency lending programs to help…

Read More:Biden Transition Live Updates: Congress Reaches a Deal on Stimulus Package