Virginia Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner said Thursday that Congress will likely strike a bipartisan deal for a coronavirus relief package before its holiday break — or at least should, with millions set to lose unemployment benefits after Christmas.
Both Democratic senators specifically alluded to the multitudes of Americans who stand to lose benefits or face evictions by the turn of the year.
“If Congress doesn’t act, Congress would become the ultimate Grinch in terms of the holiday season,” Warner told reporters Thursday afternoon, Roanoke’s NBC News affiliate reported.
“This is a healthy piece of work. It’s not perfect, but it shows, I think, a return to the sensible center,” said Warner, one of the Senate’s bipartisan “Gang of Eight” helping to broker the deal. “I think it’s a return of people who want to put country ahead of party. And I think it is a great holiday gift. We’ve just got to get it across the finish line.”
The $900 billion stimulus relief bill has left both Democrats and Republicans bickering the past several months. But Kaine and Warner said it looked like the passage of the bill, which includes $600 direct payments to families and individuals as well as $300 weekly supplemental unemployment payouts, will occur prior to Congress recessing for the Christmas break.
“The good news is, I wasn’t the only legislator objecting to a recess until we got action done,” Kaine said in a teleconference Thursday morning, the NBC affiliate reported.