U.S. lawmakers set to release $908 billion COVID-19 plan

By Susan Cornwell WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The text of a $908 billion bipartisan COVID-19 relief plan is set to be released as early as Monday and will be split into two packages in a bid to win approval, a person briefed on the matter said. The plan's highlights were made public on Dec

Reuters December 14, 2020 05:10:26 IST
U.S. lawmakers set to release $908 billion COVID-19 plan

US lawmakers set to release 908 billion COVID19 plan

By Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The text of a $908 billion bipartisan COVID-19 relief plan is set to be released as early as Monday and will be split into two packages in a bid to win approval, a person briefed on the matter said.

The plan's highlights were made public on Dec. 1, but the authors now plan to divide the measure into two separate proposals, the source said.

One will be a $748 billion proposal, which includes money for small businesses, the jobless and COVID-19 vaccine distribution. The other will include some key sticking points: liability protections for business and $160 billion for state and local governments.

One of the sponsors of the $908 billion plan, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, said on Sunday it would be introduced formally on Monday.

"The plan is alive and well and there's no way, no way that we are going to leave Washington without taking care of the emergency needs of our people," Manchin told Fox News.

Also on Sunday, the U.S. House of Representatives' No. 2 Democrat, Steny Hoyer, suggested his party might be willing to accept a coronavirus relief deal without the state and local aid that Democrats have been insisting should be part of it.

Congressional negotiators have been trying for months to reach agreement on a new coronavirus aid bill, after Congress approved $3 trillion in relief earlier this year.

Leading lawmakers would like to attach the COVID-19 aid package to a massive bill funding the government that needs to be done by Friday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, suggested last week scrapping aid to state and local governments - a Democratic priority that many Republicans oppose - as well as liability protections for business - a Republican priority opposed by many Democrats - in order to break the stalemate.

But top Democrats rejected that idea last week, saying that dropping new aid to state and local governments would put at risk the jobs of police, firefighters and other frontline public workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. airlines would receive $17 billion for four months of payroll support under the $908 billion plan, while public transit systems would receive $15 billion and there would be $4 billion for airports and $1 billion for passenger railroad Amtrak, the sponsors said on Dec. 1.

(Reporting by Susan Cornwell and David Shepardson; Editing by Peter Cooney)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.