Local lawmakers hopeful COVID-19 relief deal will soon be reached

Republican senators circulating new draft of potential COVID-19 stimulus package, reports say
Posted at 4:03 PM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-16 16:51:50-04

NORFOLK, Va. - President Trump called for Republicans to "go for much higher numbers" in a tweet Wednesday morning about the next round of COVID-19 relief.

Congress has been at a stalemate for months about what to do, but Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) said the tweet could be a sign a deal could soon be reached.

"Then that could open a door. We'll see how we can proceed in the days ahead," he said.

Last week, the Senate GOP tried to pass their own version of a relief package with no direct stimulus payments, but the bill failed.

"If we're going to try and help people through COVID, we can't vote for a bill that has zero dollars for rental assistance, zero dollars for mortgage assistance, zero dollars for food assistance or SNAP benefits, zero dollars for state and federal aid," said Kaine.

The House passed its own bill in May, but with a steep price tag it has not advanced. Now, a group of lawmakers has come forward with their own plan. The bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus has a $1.5 trillion package with stimulus payments.

Local Congresswoman Elaine Luria is a member of the caucus. News 3 spoke with her last week about the ongoing talks between the White House and Congressional leaders. "I'm waiting to hear that we've made progress and we can come to a compromise agreement that really gets to the essential things we need to help Americans economically and to help Americans on the public health front," she said.

With economic hardships continuing, local lawmakers believe the deal needs to reached soon.

"I'm going to keep pushing for a bipartisan bill because Virginians need it. Americans need it," said Kaine.

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