Negotiators resolve last-minute issues as COVID relief bill nears the finish line
Republican and Democratic Senate leaders said on Sunday afternoon they had resolved some of the last outstanding issues delaying a coronavirus relief deal and a year-end omnibus spending program, including a fight for the deduction of loans to small businesses and granting of scholarships to private schools.
“Finally, we have the bipartisan breakthrough the country needs. Now we probably have to finalize the text and avoid any last minute obstacles and cooperate to get this legislation passed in both chambers, ”said the Senate majority leader. Mitch mcconnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellUS Could Default In Weeks Without Debt Limit Action: Analysis The Hill’s Morning Report – Brought to you by Facebook – Congress avoids shutdown Senate dodges initial December crisis with last-minute deal MORE (R-Ky.) Said on the Senate floor.
McConnell noted that the legislation would provide another round of $ 600 stimulus checks, money to distribute the coronavirus vaccine and “billions and billions of dollars to help children. [get] go back to school and do it safely.
He said the legislation would reallocate more than $ 560 billion in money set aside by the CARES Act in March but not spent.
Minority Leader in the Senate Charles schumerChuck SchumerHospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless ‘build better’ plan (DN.Y.) confirmed on Sunday shortly before 6 p.m. that the deal had been finalized and that the deal would have enough votes to pass both chambers.
“The agreement on this package can be summed up as ‘better late than never’,” he said. “After a long and arduous year, after a year full of bad news, we finally have good news to share with the American people.”
“It will provide emergency aid to a country in the grip of a real emergency. He should have the votes to pass the Senate and the House and reach the office of the president to become law, ”he said.
Government funding runs out at midnight and House majority leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerOvernight Defense & National Security – US tries to deter Russian invasion of Ukraine Senate considers Plan B amid deadlock on On The Money defense bill – Congress s ” strives to keep the lights on PLUS (D-Md.) Told fellow Democrats on a conference call that the House would adopt a one-day fundraising palliative.
Hoyer said the House would not vote until Sunday on the short-term extension of government funding.
Democratic leaders had expressed hope earlier today of passing the combined coronavirus relief deal and a $ 1.4 trillion omnibus spending program on Sunday night.
But while grassroots lawmakers still awaited the text of the deal late Sunday afternoon, leaders decided to delay the vote.
Senate majority whip John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneThe Hill’s Morning Report – Brought to you by Facebook – Congress Avoids Shutdown Senate Dodges Initial December Crisis With Last Minute Deal Congress Avoids Shutdown After Vaccine Mandate Fight MORE (RS.D.) said negotiators reached agreement on a dispute over whether to use federal education aid money for scholarships at private schools.
Thune said companies that received small business loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will be able to deduct them as negotiators planned when Congress drafted the CARES law in March.
He clarified that the deductibility of PPP loans to small businesses will be allowed.
Democrats scored key victories in the deal, which the president Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPhotos of the week: Schumer, ASU protest and sea turtles Hospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless ‘Build Back Better’ plan (D-Calif.) And Schumer bragged about Sunday.
Package includes legislation to end surprise medical billing for emergency and scheduled care, $ 25 billion in much-needed rent assistance for families at risk of eviction, a labor income tax credit strengthened and a child tax credit for families facing unemployment or reduced wages.
It also plans a $ 13 billion increase in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and an expansion of Pell Grants for students who need help paying for college.
Key lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, such as the chairman of the Senate finance committee Chuck grassleyChuck GrassleyGOP blocks bill to extend gun background checks after Michigan school shooting GOP steps up attacks on SALT deduction provision Graham appears to be a staunch ally for Biden’s legal choices MORE (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Ron wydenRonald (Ron) Lee Wyden, a Senate parliamentarian looks at the White House spending bill (D-Ore.), Said it was their intention in the CARES Act that the expenses be tax deductible.
But the Treasury Department issued guidelines earlier this year that the expenses are not deductible because the cancellation of the P3 loan is not considered taxable income. secretary of the treasury Steven mnuchinSteven MnuchinThe Hill’s Morning Report – Brought to you by Facebook – Biden Tackles Omicron Risks With New Travel Rules Mnuchin and McConnell Discuss Debt Limit in Brief Meeting Large Russian hacking group linked to Sinclair ransomware attack: PLUS report had defended the department’s position, claiming that allowing deductibility would amount to a double deduction. Some progressive groups have also opposed making the expenses deductible, saying it would go a long way to helping wealthy people.
Thune said that “the issue of deductibility will be allowed as it was, I think, understood to be the law when we adopted the PPP program in the first place.”
Thune said lawmakers were in favor of Mnuchin’s tax policy argument, but that “most people, when they got these PPP loans, expected to be able to keep deducting expenses from their business and to operate accordingly “.
“I think there is broad support on both sides to include this,” he added.
Mike Lillis contributed.