The consensus on Capitol Hill is that there will be a relief deal after months of bickering and stalemate.
But Congress is now stuck in a waiting game as the top four congressional leaders, and the White House, try to iron out the fine print and haggle over the final details.
Details of what’s likely to be in the plan began to emerge on Wednesday, though nothing is final until legislative text is released.
The price tag could be close to $900 billion and it’s expected to include money for:
- Vaccine distribution and for schools
- Jobless benefits of $300 per week
- About $330 billion for small business loans
- A new round of stimulus checks, which could be set at around $600 per person under a certain income threshold
While the proposal is also expected to include a $90 billion fund administered by FEMA to provide to states and cities, it will not include a large pot of money for state and local governments that Democrats had demanded. It also won’t include protections from lawsuits for businesses and others that opened up during the pandemic, a key GOP priority.
Once a deal is unveiled, congressional leaders will have to corral the rank-and-file and move as fast as possible to bring the legislation to the floor of both chambers.