Bipartisan group of senators seeks coronavirus stimulus deal

Bipartisan group of senators seeks coronavirus stimulus deal
At least nine Republican and Democratic senators have formed an informal working group aimed at securing new coronavirus spending during the lame-duck session, a move favored by President-elect Biden, two sources familiar with the group tell Axios.

Why it matters: It may be the most significant bipartisan step toward COVID relief in months.

But, but, but: Most lawmakers still see only a small chance for passage of a comprehensive stimulus package before the end of the year, given how far apart Republicans and Democrats remain on key priorities.

  • These negotiations are taking place against the backdrop of stalled talks between House and Senate leadership and the outgoing Trump administration.

What we’re hearing: The group includes GOP Sens. Mitt Romney (Utah), Rob Portman (Ohio), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Pat Toomey (Pa.), and Democrats Mark Warner (Va.), Chris Coons (Del.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Michael Bennet (Colo.), sources said.

  • Their talks center on tying aid to the FY 2021 government spending bill that must pass by Dec. 11.
  • They would renew some modest provisions — like giving states another year to spend the money allocated to them in the CARES Act passed in March and reauthorizing the small-business Paycheck Protection Program and Small Business Administration loan forgiveness program for another year.
  • Politico first reported on the group aiming to revive stimulus talks.

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