White House proposes $916 billion relief package, with $600 stimulus checks

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday offered a $916 billion pandemic stimulus proposal from the White House to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and it includes some funding for state and local governments, a top priority for Democrats, and liability protections for businesses, hospitals, and schools, a must-have for Republicans.

A bipartisan group of legislators is working on a $908 billion compromise plan, and it's unclear if the White House proposal will affect discussions for that package, The New York Times says. In a statement, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Trump's proposal "must not be allowed to obstruct the bipartisan congressional talks that are underway."

Lawmakers are trying to get a relief bill put together before Congress leaves at the end of the year, and this is the first time since the Nov. 3 election that the Trump administration has been directly involved in stimulus talks. Under the proposal, some federal unemployment programs are expanded, but the $300 weekly enhanced unemployment benefits from earlier legislation is not included. It also calls for direct stimulus payments of $600 for some Americans and a revival of the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses.

Earlier Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the "new administration is going to be asking for another package," referring to President-elect Joe Biden, and recommended lawmakers "set aside liability, and set aside state and local, and pass those things that we agree on, knowing full well we'll be back at this after the first of the year." In response, Pelosi said McConnell's "efforts to undermine good faith, bipartisan negotiations are appalling."

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