Congress to pass deal with $600 stimulus checks

The House and Senate are expected to vote Monday to pass the massive year-end deal, which includes $900 billion in coronavirus relief and $1.4 trillion to fund the government through Oct. 1.

The vote will likely drag late into the night, with the Senate likely to go up against the deadline to prevent a government shutdown, so Congress is poised to pass a seven-day continuing resolution to give lawmakers and the White House time to get the massive year-end deal signed into law.

The agreement, announced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on the floor late Sunday, includes a $600 checks for individuals who make up to $75,000 per year. Though it’s the same income cap included in the March CARES Act, the amount of the check is half of the $1,200 for individuals that was included in the earlier bill.

Congressional Democrats and President-elect Joe Biden have argued that the $900 billion deal is a “down payment” for another package they hope to pass next year.

Dropped, for now: Liability protections. But McConnell said Monday he will “insist” that any COVID-19 relief next year include protections against coronavirus-related lawsuits. McConnell had made including protections against coronavirus-related lawsuits a top priority for months. But he signaled earlier this month that he was prepared to drop his demand in exchange for Democrats dropping their push for another round of money for state and local governments.

Wait ’til next year: It’s not clear if there will even be another bill. Senate Republicans have signaled they aren’t automatically on board for passing another one. McConnell, on Monday, was noncommittal.