COVID-19 relief negotiations hit a snag as deadline looms near

Washington DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The discussion around the latest COVID-19 relief bill has hit a hurdle, just as Congress was close to a deal.

“In terms of the direct stimulus, in terms of unemployment, housing, those issues now, small businesses with the [Paycheck Protection Program], all those issues, there is an immediacy,” Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman Dwight Evans said.

Evans says despite the possible holdup, he is prepared to get relief out to Americans.

“We should stay here as long as we have to, until we get this done,” Evans said.

Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Lloyd Smucker says he supports the framework to bring relief to Americans but has not seen the bill yet.

“Some of those pieces are in there, but until we see the final language, I’m just not sure exactly what those look like yet,” Smucker said.

Democrats are blaming a recent demand from Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, to decrease federal reserve spending, for complicating negotiations.

Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner says last minute changes is not a first for Congress.

“We’re probably going to go right up against the edge, but I do think we will end up getting a deal,” Warner said.

Smucker is confident Congress will eventually come to terms, and get a bill out

“Hopefully we will be doing so within the next few days or at least the next week,” Smucker said.

House and Senate leadership says lawmakers should prepare to stay on Capitol Hill through the weekend.

Friday afternoon, a group of senators and representatives called on Congress to deliver immediate COVID-19 aid to Americans in a prepared statement.

“Today we find ourselves in the middle of a global pandemic that has taken the lives of more than 310,000 Americans, and hours away from a government shutdown that threatens to delay urgent aid to people in need throughout the nation. We must set our differences aside. The American people elected us to govern on their behalf, and at a time when they need us more than ever we must end the partisan games and meet this moment together for the good of the country. On Monday, our bipartisan, bicameral group presented a bill that helps provide for the emergency needs of the millions of families struggling to make ends meet. Once again, we encourage the leaders to finish what we started and deliver immediate assistance to the workers, families and businesses that need it most.”

Officials that issued the statement include: U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mark Warner (D-VA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Angus King (I-ME), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chairs Representatives Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-5) and Tom Reed (R-NY-23).

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