Relief roadblock: Congress stuck in stalemate on second coronavirus aid deal


WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Congress has hit yet another roadblock in reaching a compromise on a new coronavirus relief deal, with Republicans and Democrats clashing over key proposals.

Still, some lawmakers are trying to stay positive when it comes to the fate of relief ahead of the holidays.

“I’m more hopeful than I’ve been in a long time,” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said this week.

Rubio said he is optimistic Congress will be able to pass a coronavirus relief package in time for the holidays.

Both he and Republican Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler – who is currently campaigning for one of two crucial Senate runoffs in her state – want to make sure small business aid is in the next relief package.

“Because too many families, too many small businesses are hurting right now and we should not be playing politics at this moment,” Loeffler said.

A group of bipartisan lawmakers included $300 billion in their recent $908 billion proposal. But Rubio said small business relief aid should go even higher.

“I think we can build on it, but at least on the small business part, it needs to have about $380 billion if we want to do it right,” Rubio said this week.

But with just days left until Congress is set to leave for the holiday break, there isn’t much time to build on the proposal. Some senators are pushing to pass whatever they can agree on and leave the rest until next year.

Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina said the best path toward passage is to, “eliminate the contentious issues and focus on what we have in common.”

Some Republicans suggest leaving out the two main sticking points: liability protection for businesses and state and local funding.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Friday that’s not happening.

“State and local is a solution to a real and urgent problem,” he said. “Corporate immunity from lawsuits is not.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Congress won’t leave until something gets done, even if that means working through the holidays.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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