Bipartisan group of lawmakers break proposed relief package into 2 bills

Posted at 5:09 PM, Dec 15, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A group of bipartisan lawmakers unveiled two emergency relief bills Monday that they hope will help struggling Americans get through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The same group of senators and representatives introduced a $908 billion bill earlier this month, but they couldn’t secure enough support. So, they broke the bill up into two with the hopes of passing something as the coronavirus continues to ravage the country.

One bill is called the Bipartisan COVID-19 Emergency Relief Act of 2020. It would provide as much as $748 billion in relief to American students, families, businesses, workers, and health care providers.

That measure would include additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, schools, unemployment insurance, vaccine distribution, coronavirus testing, and contact tracing.

The other bill is called the Bipartisan State and Local Support and Small Business Protection Act of 2020. It would provide $160 billion in funding for state and local governments, as well as liability protections. Both of those issues have been sticking points in relief negotiations.

During a press conference introducing the legislation, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said the bills are a compromise that will carry the American people through April 1, 2021, “to ensure our healthcare crisis doesn’t become an economic catastrophe.”

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said she hopes leadership on both sides of the aisle use the group's legislation as a basis for a COVID-19 relief package.

Negotiations are still ongoing between Democratic and Republican leadership, but both parties have said they hope to come to an agreement to provide aid the country before they leave Washington D.C. for the holidays.

Watch the group lawmakers discuss the relief bills below: