Although lawmakers are still hammering out the details on the latest coronavirus relief package, it's looking like stimulus payments will be included in the legislation.
A bipartisan group of senators released a $908 billion legislative proposal on Monday, which was broken up into two separate bills: $738 billion in funding plan that included $300 enhanced unemployment benefits, small business loans, food assistance and emergency rental relief. The second $160 billion proposal included funding for states and municipalities, as well as a liability shield for businesses against Covid-19 lawsuits.
But as negotiations between Democrat and Republican leaders progressed throughout the week, lawmakers warmed to the idea of funding another round of smaller stimulus payments.
The latest $900 billion pandemic relief package includes stimulus checks of up to $600 to $700 per individual, including dependents, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) told reporters on Wednesday. That's about half the amount lawmakers approved in March as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act.
As of now, lawmakers are reportedly basing eligibility on the same income standards established in the CARES Act, according to the Washington Post. That legislation provided for one round of stimulus payments of up to $1,200 to individuals earning an adjusted gross income of up to $75,000 and $2,400 for couples earning up to $150,000, as well as an additional $500 per dependent.
Lawmakers have until 12:01 a.m. ET on Saturday to pass a pandemic rescue package tied to federal government funding bill in order to avoid a government shutdown. And while leaders of both parties seem optimistic that a deal will get done, it will likely come down to the wire.
A "bipartisan, bicameral agreement appears to be close at hand," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the Senate floor Thursday, but added that it was highly likely that lawmakers would have to work through the weekend to finalize the package.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke on Wednesday night as part of conversations to complete the Covid relief negotiations.
"All three emphasized the urgency to reaching an immediate agreement and will exchange additional paper and resume conversations in the morning," Drew Hammill, Pelosi's deputy chief of staff tweeted late Wednesday night.