At least eight Republican and Democratic senators have formed a working group aimed at securing new coronavirus spending during the lame-duck session, a move favored by President-elect Biden, two sources familiar with the group tell Axios.
Why it matters: It may be the most significant bipartisan step toward COVID relief in months.
But, but, but: Most lawmakers still see only a small chance for passage of a comprehensive stimulus package before the end of the year, given how far apart Republicans and Democrats remain on key priorities.
- These negotiations are taking place against the backdrop of stalled talks between House and Senate leadership and the outgoing Trump administration.
What we're hearing: The group includes GOP Senators Mitt Romney, Rob Portman, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Pat Toomey, and Democrats Chris Coons, Joe Manchin, and Michael Bennet, sources said.
- Their talks center on tying aid to the FY 2021 government spending bill that must pass by Dec. 11.
- They would renew some modest provisions — like giving states another year to spend the money allocated to them in the CARES Act passed in March, and reauthorizing the small-business Paycheck Protection Program and Small Business Administration loan forgiveness program for another year.
- Politico first reported on the group aiming to revive stimulus talks.