Congress debates stimulus bill as shutdown looms

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) – Another day, another roadblock on Capitol Hill as lawmakers scramble to pass a coronavirus relief package before leaving for their holiday break and prevent a government shutdown.

This lame-duck Congress that has struggled since March to pass more COVID relief is coming down to the wire to get it done and fund the government before a shutdown deadline at midnight Friday.

11th-hour negotiations over COVID relief are hitting a new snag as Republicans try to cut off a federal emergency lending program at the end of the year, arguing it was always designed to be temporary.

Democrats are accusing Republicans of trying to hamstring the incoming Biden administration’s ability to protect the fragile economy.

Still, with millions of struggling Americans set to lose critical benefits after Christmas, party leaders insist they will make a deal before leaving for their holiday break.

The $900 billion package is expected to include enhanced unemployment benefits and direct stimulus checks, likely around $600.

President Trump reportedly wanted them as high as $2,000 dollars, but advisors convinced him that would be a deal-breaker in the first federal COVID relief since March.

Despite the partisan strife President-elect Joe Biden told talk show host Stephen Colbert he can bridge the political divide that he believes President Trump has deepened.

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