Congress still mired in stimulus talks hours before funding deadline

While congressional leaders have struck a deal on the broad outlines of a package that would deliver $600 stimulus checks to many individuals and children, $325 billion for small businesses and a $300 weekly unemployment boost, finalizing the deal has proven stubbornly difficult.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) vowed yet again late Thursday that the Senate would not leave without a deal on a spending package that will marry the coronavirus bill with a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending measure through September.

That pledge and Congress’ unfinished business sets up a breakneck Friday of negotiating on the coronavirus and a possible attempt at a short-term funding bill to avoid a lapse in government funding. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said several different sizes of a short-term spending bill were being considered, though Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) has warned that some senators may object to it and force a brief shutdown.