Manchin says bipartisan $908B coronavirus bill coming Monday, urges compromise
Sen. Manchin: Still hope for bipartisan $908B coronavirus relief bill
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin provides insight into the coronavirus relief aid package on ‘Fox News Sunday.’
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is confident that an urgently needed bipartisan coronavirus relief bill will soon be finalized.
In a conversation with “Fox News Sunday,” Manchin said that despite a rocky negotiation process, progress has been made and he expects the bill's text to be ready Monday.
“It hasn’t fallen apart — we’ve been meeting day and night for the last month,” Manchin said. “We were on the call all day yesterday, we’ll get on the call again this afternoon to finish things up. We’ll have a bill produced for the American people tomorrow – $908 billion.”
Manchin noted that with a legislative package of this size there will be pieces that not everyone will agree with, but he said lawmakers must compromise for the good of the country. He emphasized that the bill would only address the needs of the country for the first quarter of 2021.
“This is only until April 1. We’re trying to get through the toughest first quarter of our country that we’ve ever faced,” he said.
Two major issues that have been debated are extending increased unemployment benefits and liability protection for small businesses that reopen. President Trump has said that instead of extending weekly unemployment benefits in the upcoming bill, lawmakers should instead issue a single stimulus payment of $600 to all Americans.
NEW WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RELIEF PROPOSAL INCLUDES $600 STIMULUS CHECK BUT NO UNEMPLOYMENT BOOST
“It’s a bad idea, and I hope he reevaluates that statement,” Manchin said, stating that $600 payments to everyone would mean people with jobs would be getting government assistance. He believes that instead, the government should focus on devoting resources to the unemployed.
Manchin’s fellow Democrats have opposed liability protection for small businesses. Manchin addressed the arguments for both sides.
“There’s nobody that wants a business to be litigated out of business,” he said. “On the other hand, we don’t want to throw caution to the wind that the businesses aren’t safe places to work, the workers’ not protected and the people that patronize these places of businesses are not in a safe environment.”
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Manchin offered a reminder, however, that despite the difficulties lawmakers may have with this issue, granting protection would only be temporary.
“We’re not changing the tort laws forever. We’re just trying to get through an emergency period of time,” he said.
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