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Support coalescing around $900 billion coronavirus stimulus plan

Support coalescing around $900 billion coronavirus stimulus plan
Posted at 9:09 PM, Dec 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-03 23:09:54-05

Both President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden offered their support on Thursday of a $900 billion stimulus plan hatched between a bipartisan group of moderate senators earlier this week.

Trump said on Thursday he would sign the bill if it passes through Congress.

“I think they’re getting very close and I want it to happen,” Trump said from the Oval Office.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered optimism that an agreement is within reach.

"Compromise is within reach,” he said from the Senate floor on Thursday. “We know where we agree, we can do this. Let me say it again--we can do this. And we need to do this."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer seemed less certain of a potential compromise.

“For some reason, in the midst of this generational crisis, Republican Leader McConnell does not seem inclined to compromise,” Schumer said. “To actually get something done. But what he wants to do is posture. To put partisan bills on the floor and say take it or leave it. The real answer here is to sit down and talk."

During an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Thursday, Biden said that Democrats should support the bill, even though he says the legislation does not go far enough.

“That would be a good start. It’s not enough,” Biden told Tapper.

Biden has promised a larger stimulus package once taking office in January. While Democrats will hold the White House and House of Representatives, it’s still unknown who will control the Senate. Georgia will have a pair of run-off elections in January. Democrats will need to win both races in order to allow Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to cast the tiebreaking vote in a 50/50 Senate.

The proposal would provide $300 in additional unemployment benefits for up to 18 weeks. The legislation also would replenish funds for the Paycheck Protection Program and for small businesses to help make payroll as a number of companies are being forced to close to help combat the spread of the coronavirus. The current proposal calls for $288 billion to go toward support for small businesses.

There would also be $160 billion earmarked for state and local governments, which have seen a drop in tax revenue due to the pandemic. There is in additional $45 billion allocated toward the transportation industry, most notably for airlines, which have seen an over 50% reduction in business since March.

However for Americans hoping to see a second stimulus check, this bill comes short on that aspect.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said that talks of direct payments to Americans are dead at the moment.

"I would say at the moment they are, but again, that's something that can be considered down the road," Mnuchin said.