Bipartisan, bicameral group unveils $908 billion coronavirus proposal
The measure, rolled out by more than a dozen members from the House and Senate, comes as cases are climbing across the country and Congress is running out of time to clinch a long-stalled fifth relief bill with lawmakers scheduled to leave for the year as soon as next week.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said it would be “inexcusable” for Congress to leave town for the year without providing more coronavirus relief with a slew of assistance programs set to expire within weeks.
“This is a COVID emergency relief framework,” Manchin said. “It’s not the time for political brinkmanship. … This is going to get us through the most difficult times.”
The bill, according to a framework released on Tuesday, would provide another $160 billion for states and cities — a top priority for Democrats — $180 billion for unemployment insurance and $288 billion for more small business assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program.
The unemployment benefits would break down to $300 a week for 18 weeks, retroactive to Dec. 1. That’s half of the $600 per week included under the CARES Act from late March.
It also includes billions in assistance for transportation-related industries like airlines, $16 billion for vaccine development and distribution and more money for things like schools, child care and the Postal Service.