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On The Money: Coronavirus relief talks stall as liability issue foils negotiators | Sanders, Hawley promise fight to secure stimulus checks | Senate passes bill to avert shutdown

On The Money: Coronavirus relief talks stall as liability issue foils negotiators | Sanders, Hawley promise fight to secure stimulus checks | Senate passes bill to avert shutdown
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THE BIG DEAL—Coronavirus relief talks stall as liability issue foils negotiators: Senators on Friday said efforts to reach a compromise on liability protection language have failed to make significant progress, putting a broader deal on a COVID-19 relief package in peril.

Senators familiar with the talks said that Democrats have rejected the latest Republican offer to create an 18-month federal shield on coronavirus litigation.

“We have an eight-month impasse around liability issues and it’s proving extremely difficult to close it,” said Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Senate ref axes minimum wage, House votes today on relief bill Partisan headwinds threaten Capitol riot commission Trumpists' assaults on Republicans who refuse to drink the Kool-Aid will help Democrats MORE (D-Del.). The Hill’s Alexander Bolton and Naomi Jagoda explain here.

The state of play: 

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHillicon Valley: Biden signs order on chips | Hearing on media misinformation | Facebook's deal with Australia | CIA nominee on SolarWinds House Rules release new text of COVID-19 relief bill Budowsky: Cruz goes to Cancun, AOC goes to Texas MORE (D-N.Y.) argued that a bipartisan group of negotiators were close to a deal on Thursday but that McConnell’s team told congressional leaders that the group would not be able to satisfy Senate Republicans on liability protections.

“It’s an unconscionable position: no relief for the American people unless corporations receive blanket immunity from lawsuits,” Schumer said.

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LEADING THE DAY

Senate approves funding bill by voice vote to avert shutdown: The Senate passed a one-week stopgap bill on Friday, hours ahead of a government shutdown deadline.

Senators passed the bill by a voice vote, moving the funding deadline from the end of the day Friday to Dec. 18. The one-week continuing resolution (CR) already passed the House on Wednesday, meaning it now goes to President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to hold virtual bilateral meeting with Mexican president More than 300 charged in connection to Capitol riot Trump Jr.: There are 'plenty' of GOP incumbents who should be challenged MORE’s desk, where he’ll need to sign it by midnight.

Though a shutdown is averted for now, negotiators are still trying to lock down a mammoth agreement that would include the 12 fiscal 2021 bills and fund the government until Oct. 1, 2021. The Hill’s Jordain Carney tells us more about the work left to do here.

Sanders, Hawley vow fight next week over stimulus checks: Sens. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyOn The Money: Democrats scramble to save minimum wage hike | Personal incomes rise, inflation stays low after stimulus burst Democrats scramble to rescue minimum wage hike Hawley gets boisterous ovation at CPAC for Electoral College objection   MORE (R-Mo.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersHouse Democrats pass sweeping .9T COVID-19 relief bill with minimum wage hike House set for tight vote on COVID-19 relief package On The Money: Democrats scramble to save minimum wage hike | Personal incomes rise, inflation stays low after stimulus burst MORE (I-Vt.) are warning they will use next Friday's government funding deadline to try to force a vote on a second round of stimulus checks amid lawmakers' failure to secure a deal on another coronavirus relief package.

"This Congress must address the economic emergency facing the American people. We cannot go back to our families during the Christmas holidays while tens of millions of families are suffering," Sanders said during a floor speech. 

While Sanders and Hawley allowed a one-week continuing resolution to clear on Friday, averting a shutdown, they are warning about a showdown next week on their proposal. 

  • "I am not one of the members of the Senate who shuts down, does this or does that and keeps you here for the weekend. I don't do that. But this I want to say right now, I am prepared to withdraw my objection at this moment, but I will not be prepared to withdraw an objection next week," Sanders said. 
  • Hawley added that there is "no reason that this body should leave next week before we vote on and approve direct assistance to working families." 

Hawley and Sanders, typically political polar opposites, have teamed up to push for a second round of stimulus checks as Congress tries to wrap up its work for the year, with leadership needing to get a mammoth government funding deal and potentially a fifth coronavirus agreement. Jordain tells us more about the unconventional duo’s mission here.

 

ON TAP NEXT WEEK

Virtual Event Announcement: 1:30PM ET Monday 12/14--Rebuilding the Federal Workforce

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The federal workforce is losing senior talent. According to OPM and OMB, of the 2.1 million current federal civilian employees, more than one-third are eligible for retirement in the next five years, and only six percent are under 30. With a new administration on its way, how can the government restore this policy expertise to ensure efficiency and to take on the challenges of governing? Reps. Jennifer WextonJennifer Lynn WextonActing chief acknowledges police were unprepared for mob Six ways to visualize a divided America Wexton, Speier call for revamp of clearance process to screen for extremist views MORE (D-VA) and Francis RooneyLaurence (Francis) Francis RooneyGrowing number of House Republicans warm to proxy voting Lawmakers express concern about lack of young people in federal workforce The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Today: Vaccine distribution starts, Electoral College meets. MORE (R-FL), David Rohde, former Deputy Education Secretary Jim Shelton, former NTIA Acting Administrator Diane Rinaldo and more. RSVP for event reminders. (https://rebuildingfedgov.splashthat.com/

Tuesday:

  • The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) begins its two-day December meeting.
  • A Senate Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on the impact of COVID-19 on the live entertainment industry at 10 a.m.
  • A Senate Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on expanding entrepreneurship beyond “traditional hubs” at 2:30 p.m.

Wednesday:

  • A Senate Banking subcommittee holds a hearing on the economic competition between the U.S. and China at 9:30 a.m.
  • The FOMC announces its monetary policy decision at 2 p.m., followed by a press conference with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell at 2:30 p.m.

 

GOOD TO KNOW