Momentum grows on Capitol Hill for economic relief package as bipartisan group releases two bills
By Jeff Stein, Mike DeBonis and Seung Min Kim
A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Monday released two bills they said would provide the nation with emergency economic relief as senior congressional officials sounded more hopeful about the odds of approving new relief than they have in weeks.
The bipartisan group unveiled one $748 billion package that includes new unemployment benefits, small business aid and other programs that received broad bipartisan support. The second bill includes the two provisions most divisive among lawmakers — liability protections for firms and roughly $160 billion in aid for state and local governments — with the expectation that both could be excluded from a final deal to secure passage of the most popular provisions. This second bill could end up falling out of the final deal if lawmakers don’t rally around it amid broad opposition among Democrats to approving the liability shield.
The progress in the bipartisan group’s work comes as congressional leaders indicated momentum for quickly approving some sort of economic relief package before lawmakers leave for Christmas recess.