Stimulus checks part of looming COVID-19 relief deal as Congress finalizes negotiations

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WASHINGTON – Lawmakers closed in on a roughly $900billion COVID-19  relief deal Wednesday morning that may include another round of checks and other much-needed financial benefits for Americans, according to a source familiar with negotiations who wasn’t authorized to speak on the record.   

The looming deal would restart a boost to federal unemployment insurance benefits and provide some form of relief for state and local governments, according to the source.  Liability protections, a hurdle in negotiations when Republicans insisted they be included in any deal, are not likely to be in this package, the source said, though lawmakers continued to negotiate.  

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., the second-ranking Senate Republican, said Wednesday he believed checks of $600 or $700 – “double that for family and kids” – were part of discussions. The unemployment benefit under discussion was about $300 per week, he saidAbout $330 billion was on the table to renew the Paycheck Protection Program for small-business loan forgiveness, he said. 

Source: USA Today