Congress Reaches $900 Billion ‘COVID-19 Relief’ Deal

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, speaks during a news conference following a weekly meeting with the Senate Republican caucus, Tuesday, Dec. 8. 2020 at the Capitol in Washington. (Sarah Silbiger/Pool via AP)
Sarah Silbiger/Pool via AP

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced on Sunday that a deal for “COVID-19 relief” valued at “nearly $900 billion” of federal government spending had been reached by congressional leadership.

McConnell’s remarks on the Senate floor regarding a “major rescue package” “with targeted policies to help struggling Americans” did not include any mention of lockdowns or shutdowns — ostensibly for public health purposes — of businesses or other operations.

McConnell said the spending bill would “provide huge sums for the logistics” of distributing vaccines for the coronavirus.”

“Speaking of vaccines, we can’t nullify the success of Operation Warp Speed by falling asleep at the switch on distribution,” McConnel stated. “So this agreement will provide huge sums for the logistics that will get these life-saving shots to our citizens as fast as possible.”

McConnell and his staff tweeted:

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also made no mention of ostensibly public health-related lockdown or shutdown decrees against businesses and other organizations while referring to small business and restaurant owners. He described the legislative deal as “emergency aid”:

Schumer highlighted the deal’s inclusion of $4 billion for New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), a government organization operating public transportation in and around New York City:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wore a mask while delivering remarks on what she described as a “coronavirus relief and omnibus package” during a press conference.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is the only one of the four congressional leaders addressing lockdowns and shutdowns. Both his website’s homepage and Twitter profile highlight lockdowns and shutdowns in the context of the coronavirus outbreak:

Politico reported that the legislative text is not yet available for the public to review. Its report omitted any mention of lockdown or shutdown decrees.

Politico also reported that the legislative agreement will provide “a $300 boost in weekly unemployment benefits for 11 weeks [and] $600 relief checks for adults and children.” Sens. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are both calling for $1,200 checks to be sent out as “direct payments.”

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