Senators Behind Bipartisan $908 Billion Stimulus Plan Say They're Close to an Agreement

After months of faltering negotiations, progress on the next stimulus relief bill is being made on Capitol Hill, and a deal may finally be within reach. Just days after senators introduced a $908 billion bipartisan proposal, several members of the 10-person cross-party group crafting the plan are expressing optimism in the bill's success and indicating that an agreement could be reached as early as this week.

Speaking with CNN's Jake Tapper on State of the Union Sunday, Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia said that lawmakers are close to an agreement and that it could come as early as Monday, Dec. 7. Warner told Tapper that he believes "we have got the top line numbers done" and they are currently "working right now on language so that we can have – as early as tomorrow – a piece of legislation." Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, seemed to agree, telling Fox News that the final language will "probably come out early this week – earlier this week."

According to Warner, the bill is a four-month emergency relief package with a $908 billion price tag that "will give targeted relief for the unemployed; for people in food insecurity; rental assistance; small businesses that have run out of their [Paycheck Protection Program] funds and additional funds to those minority businesses that have been extraordinarily hit hard." Warner explained that those crafting the package "put additional assistance in finally for broadband, which we all know is an academic necessity and additional dollars around the vaccine distribution; assistance for hospitals."

The bill was revealed on Tuesday, Dec. 1 amid faltering hope that a bill would be brought forward and approved before the end of the year. Along with Warner and Cassidy, the bipartisan group behind the proposal includes Sens. Susan Collins, Jeanne Shaheen, Lisa Murkowski, Angus King, Mitt Romney Maggie Hassan, and Joe Manchin. Manchin explained Sunday that the group of lawmakers came together after the November election in an effort to figure out a path forward on the package. He said that "it's a deal that must come together. We don't have a choice now. It's one of those things that has to be done."

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Although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell almost immediately rejected the proposal, and President Donald Trump has not voiced his support for it, instead said to be favoring McConnell's scaled-back proposal, Cassidy expressed optimism that the two would accept the bipartisan bill. Noting that "the pain of the American people is driving this," Cassidy said that he is "optimistic that both of those leaders will come on board."