Negotiators have decided to provide stimulus checks worth $600 per person. The size of that benefit would begin to be reduced for people who earned $75,000 the preceding year, similar to the last round of stimulus checks, according to two people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details of private deliberations. The stimulus checks would provide $600 per person, including adults and children, meaning a family of four would receive $2,400 up to a certain income.
Congress would also extend unemployment benefits of up to $300 per week, which could start as early as Dec. 27.
While there’s broad agreement on stimulus checks and unemployment insurance, they caution nothing is final until the bill text is released. That may come as early as Sunday afternoon. , Other policy disputes remained outstanding, according to multiple aides close to negotiations, which could push the timeline back again.
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) told reporters on Sunday that there would be some extension of the moratorium on evictions set to expire by the end of the year. Menendez said there was still a dispute among lawmakers over the amount of rental-assistance funding.
Congressional lawmakers appeared ready to ignore the president’s demands. People close to negotiations said they did not expect the White House to oppose the package over Trump’s push for larger stimulus payments, although Trump has repeatedly scrambled congressional negotiations with last-minute demands.
Lawmakers have agreed in principle to new stimulus payments. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), as well as Trump, have made a push for more generous stimulus checks, but those efforts are unlikely to prove successful.
The income criteria for the stimulus checks is expected to reflect that of the first round of stimulus payments sent by the Treasury Department earlier this year. The size of the payment would diminish for those who earned more than $75,000 in the 2019 tax year, and disappear altogether for those who earned more than $99,000.
Adult dependents are not expected to qualify for the stimulus payments, people familiar with the negotiations said, despite a push from congressional Democrats. The deal would include stimulus payments for families in which one of the parents is not a citizen.
The deal over extending federal jobless benefits for millions of unemployed Americans at a level of $300 per week would cover up to 11 weeks of unemployment, at least through March 14, aides familiar with the negotiations said. An unemployment benefits program for contract and gig workers, which is also set to expire at the end of the year, would be extended for 11 weeks for those workers as well.
Other hurdles to a deal remain under discussion, according to the aides close to negotiations. For instance, Pelosi told Democratic lawmakers Saturday that the parties remained divided over how much aid to provide for hungry Americans.
Even if leaders are able to resolve remaining sticking points on Sunday, it may take more time for congressional staff members to draft those agreements into legislative text and prepare the massive bill for votes in the House and Senate. Lawmakers had also not yet released text of the agreement between senior Democrats and Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.) over the central bank, which was a sticking point on Saturday.
Lawmakers had hoped to vote this weekend on legislation to fund the government along with the broader relief package. Still, bill language had not materialized by Sunday morning.
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the No. 2 ranking Republican senator, suggested on Saturday that Congress may need another short-term extension to keep the government open to buy lawmakers more time to finalize an agreement.
The emerging legislative package is expected to also devote as much as $330 billion in small-business aid and allocate tens of billions of dollars to an array of other critical needs, such as transportation agencies, distressed renters and hungry people.
A compromise proposal reached earlier this month by Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), among other centrist lawmakers, would have provided 16 weeks in unemployment benefits instead of the 11 weeks under the current agreement.
The push for an approximately $900 billion relief plan gained new momentum Saturday night as lawmakers resolved a dispute over a Republican plan to rein in the Federal Reserve.
As part of his proposal, Toomey wanted the Fed’s lending programs for businesses and local governments to be cut off at the end of the year, and ensure that no similar programs could be propped up down the line.
While Toomey and Republican leadership held firm for much of Saturday, Democrats chastised the plan, saying it stretched far beyond specific programs propped up under the Cares Act. They also argued the GOP was undermining the Fed’s ability to fight future crises, and with it, the incoming Biden administration.
Despite hopeful statements from leadership on timing of passing the relief legislation, other lawmakers, including Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), have cast doubt that Congress could pass the measure on such an accelerated timetable.
Rachel Siegel contributed to this report.