According to a CNN report on Sunday night, Congressional leaders revealed that they have secured an agreement for a sweeping $900 billion rescue plan to provide much-needed relief for small businesses, unemployed Americans and health care workers while encouraging the delivery of vaccinations.
The announcement follows political tensions and ideological finger-pointing between Democrats and Republicans that fueled speculation about whether lawmakers would be able to conclude an agreement or whether negotiations with lawmakers would fail quickly to leave Washington in sight for the holidays and the end of the 116th Congress.
The full specifics of what will be in the package, and the legislative text, have yet to be published, and lawmakers now have to rush to pass another stop-gap bill to avert a government shutdown ahead of a midnight deadline and buy more time to hold votes on the pandemic relief agreement.
The legislation will provide cash payments of up to $600 per adult and child and up to $2,400 per family. It will also provide relief for struggling small businesses by offering more than $284 billion for forgivable Paycheck Security Program loans, $25 billion in rental assistance, an extension of the moratorium on eviction and $82 billion for providers of education such as schools and colleges to support reopen classes safely, amongst other provisions.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the package would facilitate the rollout of coronavirus vaccines by providing “huge sums for the logistics that will get these life-saving shots to our citizens as fast as possible” and will provide another round of direct impact payments to help households make ends meet and continue our economic recovery.”
In a joint statement supporting the legislation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said: “We are going to crush the virus and put money in the pockets of the American people.”