Congress prepares for weekend work as incentive stalls

“I’m hopeful, and I spoke to the speaker this morning. She thinks we’re making real progress,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) Thursday morning on MSNBC. “Hopefully we will reach an agreement today.”

The House and Senate should both pass the year-end funding bill and the coronavirus package, and in the Senate any member can delay passage. Even if a deal is reached on Thursday, it could take a day for the legislation to be drafted.

The coronavirus package includes another round of about $ 600 incentive checks, increased unemployment benefits of $ 300 a week, about $ 325 billion for small businesses and money for transportation, vaccine distribution and schools, lawmakers and aides said. Its leaders are hopeful it will marry a $ 1.4 trillion omnibus bill that the government will fund through September.

Senate leader Mitch McConnell said late on Wednesday that Congress is “getting there,” while speaker Nancy Pelosi quoted “progress” and said she hoped a bill for the spending would not be needed any time soon.

Republicans are currently opposing several major Democratic requests in the bailout package. Democratic negotiators – Senator Chuck Schumer and Pelosi – are asking for a whopping $ 90 billion for governors to spend on healthcare-related concerns, while Republicans call that an unnecessary slush fund. The GOP negotiators remain against a $ 1 billion pot for FEMA to deal with Covid-related emergencies. The same pot of money easily passed through Parliament earlier this year.