Both Democrat and Republican lawmakers are discussing another round of COVID stimulus payments directed towards businesses to help them avert the consequences of omicron.
According to the Washington Post, the measure is to provide financial assistance to different sectors, including restaurants, gyms, minor league sports teams, and performance venues.
Lawmakers discussing new COVID funding to businesses
Democrat Senator Ben Cardin and Republican Senator Roger Wickers are leading the ongoing talks of the economic bailout package, according to the four people familiar with the matter who spoke, on the condition of anonymity, to the Washington Post.
These senators worked together in mid-December to craft the outline of a roughly $68 billion proposal. This is likely to include the new funding, as well as the reallocation of the leftover money under the previous stimulus packages.
While concerned senators have not finalized the plan by now, they started discussing it with their relevant parties in order to get the necessary support needed to pass the bill.
Cardin also told CNN that Congress is discussing a financial package to different industries, saying no conclusion has been made yet.
Reportedly, passing the spending package will be a herculean task for Democrats, as past attempts to pass these sorts of measures faced massive resistance in a closely contested Congress.
— Reuters World (@ReutersWorld) January 5, 2022
Since the beginning of the pandemic, many financial assistance packages have been announced by both parties. In March of last year, Biden approved the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, before which Trump approved almost $900 billion of COVID-related funding in December 2020.
Similarly, Congress allocated $3 trillion to tackle the virus that shut down America in 2020. Ed Mills, a policy analyst from Raymond James, asserted due to the changing dynamics of the US economy, this time, government assistance could be different.
According to him, many job openings are presently available, which will discourage the government from giving free lunches to people.
New COVID variant discovered in France
Although the White House did not mention the specifics of new talks, press secretary Jen Psaki indicated dialogue is going on with the lawmakers for stimulus funding.
She also claimed the country is facing a different situation compared to the previous year, as she touted job creation and vaccination rates are high, while unemployment is low in the country.
While the world was already grappling with the omicron variant, a new strain named IHU has been found in France, raising concerns for the United States yet again.
— Firstpost (@firstpost) January 4, 2022
Despite the fact the World Health Organization (WHO) downplayed the severity of the new strain, health experts are indicating further studies will suggest how severe this variant is.
According to famous American epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding, while the discovery of a new variant is a common phenomenon now, the ability of the strain to mutate makes it more dangerous than others.