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Pelosi Builds Up Hopes for Relief Package

Mid-size plan could pass now, with more aid coming next year
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 4, 2020 3:52 PM CST

(Newser) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave an optimistic assessment of the prospects for a mid-size COVID-19 relief bill and a separate $1.4 trillion governmentwide spending bill on Friday, teeing up expectations for a successful burst of legislative action to reverse months of frustration on pandemic relief. Pelosi told reporters that she and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are in sync on a plan to reach agreement on the massive omnibus spending bill and to add COVID-19 relief to it, the AP reports. "There is momentum," Pelosi said. She said a bipartisan, middle-of-the-road plan being finalized by a diverse gaggle of senators that she has endorsed as a foundation for the relief bill is a good effort, though it's a retreat from where Democrats stood before the election. "It's a good product," Pelosi said. "It's not everything we want."

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Pelosi had dismissed a larger package floated in September, but she said the pending arrival of vaccines and President-elect Biden's victory are a “game-changer" that should guarantee more aid next year and the elimination of the pandemic. At stake is whether to provide some aid now rather than wait until Biden takes office. Businesses, especially airlines, restaurants and health providers, are desperate for help as caseloads spiral. Biden supports a package that's as large as possible now. The $908 billion plan would establish a $300-per-week jobless benefit, send $160 billion to state and local governments, boost schools and universities, revive popular "paycheck protection" subsidies for businesses, and bail out transit systems and airlines.

(Read more economic stimulus package stories.)

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