US congressional leaders from the Democratic and Republican parties reached an agreement on Sunday to provide financial aid of $900 billion.
Although it remains unclear when Congress will pass it, the deal comes as a rare relief to a nation beleaguered by partisan bickering over the past few years. Republican leader Mitch McConnell tweeted late Sunday:
“As the American people continue battling the coronavirus this holiday season, they will not be on their own. Congress has just reached an agreement. We will pass another rescue package ASAP. More help is on the way.”
“As the American people called it a “breakthrough … at long last,” MConnell told the Senate. The package is the second largest stimulus package in US history, preceded only by the previous Covid-19 package of $2.3 trillion in March.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer confirmed having reached an agreement on the omnibus coronavirus package. Schumer said the bill should have the votes to pass in Congress. Congress is poised to take up the bill shortly, although it is unclear when.
Democrats and Republicans had locked horns in a bitter logjam over the package under CARES Act. During early December, the Republicans proposed a $908 billion package, bringing the two sides back on the negotiating table. The proposal included $748 billion worth aid towards unemployment benefits, aid to small businesses, and other programs. This portion of the proposal had received wide support. The more contended portion was the smaller $168 billion package that would support liability protection for firms and aid for state and local governments.