Congress Tries to Stave Off Pandemonium with Last Ditch Stimulus Bill

2020 has been a year in which we’ve seen glimpses of the true might of the American people.

We’ve been out in the streets, demanding change on a number of issues throughout 2020. In Virginia, Second Amendment supporters held a powerful demonstration on the steps of the state capitol.  In Michigan, the ire of the people was directed at the Governor’s coronavirus lockdown orders.

And, of course, there were the national, (and international), protests that sprung up in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

But none of these will compare to the powder keg set to explode if Congress can’t get a COVID-19 stimulus deal worked out before the end of the year…and they know it.

After months of partisan stand off on Capitol Hill over the size and composition of another round of coronavirus relief, key signs of progress emerged as the House and Senate moved closer to a possible deal.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., spoke by telephone Thursday afternoon — notable because the two top leaders hadn’t spoken about legislation addressing the pandemic since the election. Up until Thursday they had been blaming at each other in press conferences and floor speeches for the lack of action.

While the two sides are getting closer in terms of the possible size of a package, key policy differences over liability protections and whether to help state and local governments continue to be the chief hang ups. The time pressure is also working against members, as pulling together a measure costing hundreds of billions of dollars in a matter of days is colliding with efforts to finalize a massive government funding bill.

The scramble comes as millions of Americans face losing support programs at the end of the month and cases and hospitalizations are surging across the country. Top leaders are aiming to finish business for the year at the end of next week.

Furthermore, a federal moratorium on evictions is set to expire at the end of the calendar year, and would almost certainly motivate a vast number of Americans to take to the streets in anger.