Members of Congress are headed home to begin the Thanksgiving break next week.
A surge in new cases and the tragic milestone of surpassing 250,000 deaths in the US have many wondering when relief will come.
Since the start of the pandemic, millions of Americans have filed for unemployment each week, with many industries suffering.
According to a report by ABC News, there is some renewed hope that a relief package could be included in another bill.
Democratic aides told the news outlet that staffers met on Thursday (November 19) to strategize ways to include pandemic relief in a spending bill that must clear both chambers of government by December 11 to avoid a complete government shutdown.
Leaders in both parties had originally turned down the idea of including pandemic relief with any other bills because they felt each issue should be handled separately. With the alarming rise in cases and hospitalizations, it doesn’t seem congressional leaders have the luxury of waiting any longer.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters in New York on Thursday, “Last night, they’ve agreed to sit down and the staffs are going to sit down today or tomorrow to try to begin to see if we can get a real good COVID relief bill.”
“So there’s been a little bit of a breakthrough in that McConnell’s folks are finally sitting down and talking to us,” he added.
Republican aides told ABC News that the talks Schumer mentioned were only about the government spending bill to avoid a shut down, not a pandemic stimulus package.
The list of the pandemic protections set to expire at the end of the year is long. It includes:
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistant
- National eviction moratorium
- Student loan forbearance
- Paid sick leave and family sick leave tax credits for the self-employed
- Paycheck Protection Program
There’s been a consistent back and forth and stalemate between congressional leaders with Democrats seeking a $2 trillion relief package while Republicans want to pass a $500 billion package.
Whether a package gets passed or not, health officials and economists worry what the implications of the holiday season bringing a second surge and what that would mean for American lives and economy.
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