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Thursday, 21 January 2021

Bipartisan lawmakers propose $908 bln COVID-19 relief bill

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Bipartisan lawmakers propose $908 bln COVID-19 relief bill
Bipartisan lawmakers propose $908 bln COVID-19 relief bill

[NFA] A bipartisan group of U.S. senators and members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday proposed a $908 billion COVID relief bill that would fund measures through March 31, but it hasn't been embraced by the White House, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Colette Luke has more.

REPUBLICAN SENATOR MITT ROMNEY: "And so we've come together..." With time running out, a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday unveiled a $908 billion dollar COVID-19 relief bill aimed at breaking a months-long deadlock between Democrats and Republicans over new emergency assistance as coronavirus cases surge in the U.S. SENATOR MITT ROMNEY: "I happen to be a deficit hawk, I don't like borrowing money.

I don't like spending money we don't have, but the only time to borrow money is in time of crisis and this is a crisis, we want to help people at this particular time." The bipartisan proposal - which would help small businesses, unemployed people, airlines and other industries during the pandemic - would provide emergency aid through March 31.

It includes $228 billion dollars in additional Paycheck Protection Program funds for hotels, restaurants and other small businesses and state and local governments will receive direct aid under the proposal.

U.S. airlines would also receive $17 billion dollars for four months of payroll support and the measure also includes provisions that Republicans have been pressing for, including new liability protections for businesses and schools grappling with the coronavirus pandemic.

It would also provide $300 dollars a week in federal unemployment benefits for four months which is less than the $600 dollars a week that Democrats wanted.

With lawmakers scheduled to leave for the year as early as next week, Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski and Democrat Senator Mark Warner urged their colleagues to act: SENATOR LISA MURKOWSKI: "This is emergency relief…We know we have more to do, we cannot leave, we cannot abandon the American people, the families who are suffering at this time and waiting and begging for congress to act." SENATOR MARK WARNER: "Somebody used it and I borrowed the term, it would be stupidity on steroids if Congress left for Christmas without doing an interim package as a bridge." The proposal, however, has not yet been embraced by the White House, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

But McConnell on Tuesday said the U.S. Congress should include a fresh wave of coronavirus stimulus in a must-pass $1.4 trillion spending bill aimed at heading off a government shutdown in the midst of a pandemic.


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