Congress still hopeful on $1,200 stimulus checks as current bill without money heads to finish line

ANOTHER coronavirus relief bill from a bipartisan group of senators could be proposed as early as next week.

Republican Senator Bill Cassidy said the $908billion proposal would not include a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks – despite both parties having expressed support for more direct payments.

"There may be a stimulus check, but that would be part of a different piece of legislation," Cassidy said in an interview with Fox News.

Cassidy, one of 10 senators working on drafting the proposed package, also said that the bill “is not a stimulus bill, it’s a relief bill.”

Stimulus checks are not expected to be added to the final version of the bill as the bipartisan group works to meet Republican cost-cutting demands.

The proposal would represent a compromise between the rejected $2.2trillion plan from Democrats and a $550billion proposal from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Democratic Senator Mark Warner, who is working on drafting the bill with Cassidy, told CNN that the legislation could be proposed as early as Monday.

CNN’s Jake Tapper said that Joe Biden told him he hopes the bill passes but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer branded it as a “starting point” for further negotiations.

When asked by Tapper if Pelosi and Schumer were hindering his bipartisan efforts at another stimulus package, Warner called the efforts a “compromise.”

“Look Jake, this is a compromise. There has been a group of eight of us, that’s now 10, that have worked over the last two weeks every day except Thanksgiving,” Warner said.

“For those of us who are Democrats, we would have preferred a bigger plan. From my Republican colleagues, they would have liked a plan Mitch McConnell put out at about $500billion. This is a compromise.”

He added that “neither side is going to get the full amount” or exact legislation desired by their party.

A framework of the proposal includes a $300 per week in unemployment benefits, CNN reported.

The proposal would also include $288billion in aid for small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program, $4billion for emergency student loan relief, $10billion for the United States Postal Service, and $25billion in emergency rental assistance, Warner said in a press release.

The bill proposal would set aside $160billion for state and local government, which McConnell has repeatedly shown he would not support.

However, Warner told CNN that he has “pretty high assurance” the proposed legislation would pass through Congress, which Cassidy echoed to Fox News.

Cassidy told the outlet he is “optimistic” that both President Donald Trump and McConnell would accept the bipartisan compromise to the relief package.

"The pain of the American people is driving this, and I’m optimistic that both of those leaders will come on board," he said.

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