Congress Moves Closer To COVID-19 Relief Package

The new bipartisan plan will likely include more stimulus checks and extended unemployment benefits. NBC's Alice Barr reports.

WASHINGTON (NBC News) — Congress is racing to prevent a government shutdown and pass a COVID-19 relief bill before the holiday break.

Bipartisan negotiations have found new urgency as the pandemic intensifies, forcing more businesses to close.

New unemployment numbers show a higher than expected 885,000 Americans filing for the first time.

Millions of others are set to lose unemployment benefits the day after Christmas.

“We’re seeing food lines of people who never, ever in their lives expected to have to go to a food kitchen to support their family. It is a crisis,” says House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.

Lawmakers are hammering out the details of a $900 billion package expected to include a new round of stimulus checks, extended federal unemployment benefits of about $300 per week, and more money for small businesses struggling to stay afloat.

The framework does not include money for state and local governments, liability protection for businesses or significant support for the hard hit restaurant industry.

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