Schumer, Toomey resolve COVID-19 relief sticking point, potentially setting stage for vote

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Tim O'Donnell
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The Senate appeared to reach a major breakthrough in COVID-19 relief negotiations late Saturday, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he believes both the House and Senate will vote on a package Sunday so long as "nothing gets in the way."

Schumer and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) were finishing up details of a compromise that seemingly resolves a sticking point about the Federal Reserve's ability to set up emergency lending programs without congressional approval, which Toomey wanted to restrict. Under the deal, The Wall Street Journal reports, the central bank wouldn't lose that power, but its options would be narrower — the Fed wouldn't be able to replicate programs identical to the ones it started in March unless Congress signed off.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the resolution means "we can begin closing out the rest of the package to deliver much-needed relief to families, workers, and businesses."

The finer details of the $900 billion proposal are still unclear, and talks could still hit a snag over certain issues, but should it go through, per CNN, the bill is expected to include $300 per week in enhanced unemployment benefits, $600 direct payments for individuals, $330 billion for small business loans, more than $80 billion for schools, and billions more for COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Read more at CNN and The Wall Street Journal.

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