Bipartisan Senate Proposal Includes Some Support for Small Businesses, No New Stimulus Checks

Gloved hand touching a tax return Treasury check to symbolize the COVID pandemic economic impact.
Photo: Jason Raff/Shutterstock

Plus, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has his own ice cream flavor, and more news to start your day

Bipartisan group of lawmakers unveil stimulus package proposal in attempt to break stalemate

A bipartisan group of senators plan to unveil a $908 billion stimulus proposal today, following a monthslong stalemate that has prevented additional economic aid to people, businesses, and a country desperately in need of it.

The group includes senators Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Angus King (I-Maine), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), according to the Washington Post, which first reported the news.

The proposed plan is a compromise between Democrats’ desired $2.2 trillion package and Republicans’ $500 billion, Warner told CNBC, calling it an “interim package” until President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January.

Although the details of the package are still subject to change, the Post reports that so far, the plan would provide:

  • $300 a week in federal unemployment benefits, rather than Democrats’ desired $600 per week
  • $240 billion in funding for state and local governments, a Democratic priority opposed by most Republicans
  • a six-month freeze on coronavirus-related lawsuits against companies, a Republican priority opposed by most Democrats
  • an additional $300 billion for small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program
  • $40 billion for transit agencies
  • rental assistance for people facing eviction
  • $50 billion in health care funding, including to help with COVID-19 testing, tracing, and vaccine distribution
  • no second round of stimulus checks

It’s not yet clear whether this proposal will move forward or help stimulus talks resume between the two parties. Federal aid is critical as we move into the holidays, as several emergency relief programs — including an extension on unemployment insurance, a moratorium on federal student loan repayment, and some eviction protections — expire at the end of December.

And in other news…

  • Chipotle is testing smoked brisket in select Cincinnati and Sacramento locations. [CNBC]
  • 10,000 free McRibs. [CNN]
  • Recall alert: some baby spinach, organic basil, and vegetable mix. [Thrillist]
  • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson created a new Salt & Straw ice cream flavor called “Dwanta Claus.” Hope it’s dwalicious? [People]
  • Hershey’s debuted a new holiday ad that uses human actors in addition to stop-motion Hershey’s Kisses, and a handful of people are mad with grief. [Today]
  • Yet another restaurant owner says it took months to get Grubhub to remove his menu and photos that were posted to its site without permission. [WZZM13]
  • The wife of a member of the E Street Band says she was banned from an Arizona restaurant for asking corporate headquarters to issue a mask mandate. [NJ.com]
  • Thrillist is opening a delivery-only ghost kitchen with Zuul that will rotate New York chefs and restaurants from December to April. [Media Post]

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