WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nexstar) — Talks are still underway on Capitol Hill to hash out a COVID-19 relief bill before the government runs out of funding on Friday. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says the finish line is in sight.
“It is not a done deal yet, but we are very close,” he said.
Top congressional leaders — known as the four corners — met Tuesday to hash out a $900 billion package. It’s a meeting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said went well.
“We agreed we would not leave town before we made law,” McConnell said.
Lawmakers agreed to drop state and local aid, a top priority for Democrats, along with liability protections for businesses — something Republicans were pushing for.
“It is time to set aside those pieces that we can’t agree on and make progress on the ones that we can,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said.
Cornyn and the democratic minority leader agree the bill doesn’t goes far enough, but both admit something is better than nothing.
“Right now, we must address this emergency over this short term, but make no mistake, we will work in the future to provide additional relief as the country requires,” Schumer said.
And, McConnell says lawmakers need to work fast.
“We need to re-up the paycheck protection program to save jobs; we need to continue to provide for laid off Americans,” McConnell said.
“I think it will be done; I know it will be done, because we have to do it. Failure is not an option,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said.
If Congress doesn’t pass a deal, the government will run out of funding Friday. Twelve million people will lose unemployment benefits the day after Christmas.