Congressional leaders announce agreement on bipartisan coronavirus relief bill

After months of stonewalling and squabbling over the terms of a second major coronavirus relief package, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) — along with other Congressional Democrat leaders — was forced to break down and accept a GOP proposal. 

Pelosi has been under intense fire for several months due to her refusal to negotiate with GOP leaders and the White House to strike a deal to provide financial relief to suffering Americans and businesses.

Striking a deal

Congressional leaders announced on Sunday that an agreement has been reached for a nearly $900 billion deal that will ” establish temporary $300 per week supplemental jobless benefits and $600 direct stimulus payments to most Americans, along with a new round of subsidies for hard-hit businesses and money for schools, health care providers, and renters facing eviction,” according to a Fox News report.

The full details of the plan will be released in the coming days, and the bill is expected to be brought before the House and Senate for a vote in short order — though the exact timeline is still unclear.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Pelosi issued a joint statement affirming their support of the bill, saying that their goal is to “crush the virus and put money in the pockets of the American people.”

“Today, we have reached an agreement with Republicans and the White House on an emergency coronavirus relief and omnibus package that delivers urgently needed funds to save the lives and livelihoods of the American people as the virus accelerates,” the statement read.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also hailed the decision, saying that he’s “relieved that we appear to be hours away from legislation.”

“For months, literally months, Senate Republicans have been calling for another targeted package to reopen the job-saving Paycheck Protection Program, extend federal unemployment benefits, fund K-12 schools, fund vaccine distribution and get a lot more help onto the front lines as fast as possible,” McConnell said in his own statement.

Dems break down

After rejecting dozens of proposals from GOP leaders and the White House, it appears that Schumer and Pelosi have chosen to preserve what little positive public opinion they have left.

Schumer added in his statement that the agreement is “far from perfect” but will provide needed assistance to “a nation in the throes of a genuine emergency.”

Pelosi previously set a hard lower limit of $2.2 trillion for a coronavirus deal, an untenable position for a government already reeling from historic a historic deficit.

GOP proposals sought to provide targeted relief to small businesses and unemployed Americans, and Pelosi wanted to use the bill as a way to achieve her partisan goals. However, it appears that both parties are feeling the pressure of the new year, and are willing to move forward with a smaller bill with eyes on requesting further funding in the new year.

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