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Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Va.). Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The bipartisan group of senators working on an economic stimulus deal have received assurances from Senate GOP leadership that their $748 billion proposal will be used as the framework for a relief package that Congress hopes to pass by the end of the week, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) tells the Axios Re:Cap podcast.

Why it matters: This is the most compromise we've seen from Congress to date in trying to pass a new round of economic stimulus, as the country grapples with its worst-ever surge of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

"They're basically taking our bill and putting it into the omnibus bill, which has to pass at the end [of the week] ... They're using our template. Our bill. They're taking our bill section by section because it's already been vetted... [Republican leadership is] going to acknowledge that today as a framework they're working off of."
— Joe Manchin to Axios Re:Cap

Manchin added that he and others in the bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators who have proposed this two-pronged emergency stimulus have spoken with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell about integrating their bill into the final package, and that he said most, if not all, of their bill will be tied into a final deal.

  • The $748 billion package focuses on areas of broad agreement, including a continuation of enhanced unemployment benefits and reauthorization of the PPP program for small business loans.
  • The portion not included is the smaller, more controversial $160 billion bill that includes state and local aid (favored by Democrats) and liability protections for businesses (favored by Republicans).

The other side: A Senate GOP leadership aide tells Axios, “Joe Manchin wants to be the hero here and say, ‘I gave Mitch McConnell the bill that is going to be signed into law.’ That is not what's going to happen."

  • "What happened is Manchin handed him a bill, and that bill looks a lot like what we've been arguing over since April. If you take the 'modsquad' bill and set it down on a table next to our bill from a couple of weeks ago that the president endorsed, you'll see there are a lot of policies that overlapped," the aide said.
  • The aide also acknowledged that "there's a very high likelihood that almost all" of the provisions in the bipartisan group's $748 billion bill will be reflected in the final package because "it's not that different" from what both parties have supported already.

What's next: The people who make the final call — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy — will meet Tuesday afternoon. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will join by phone.

The full Axios Re:Cap interview with Sen. Manchin can be found here.

Go deeper

Jan 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Democrats call on Schumer for speedy Trump impeachment trial

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats are in a dilemma of their own making, and now they want incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to wrap up President Trump's impeachment trial as fast as possible, two sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: The party wanted to hold the president accountable for helping incite last week's Capitol attack but the actual mechanism for doing so — a Senate trial — is a balky tool that will inhibit President-elect Joe Biden from launching his effort to heal the country and its economy.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Jan 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden's COVID package also progressive wish list

President-elect Joe Biden. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

A crisis is a terrible thing to waste — and President-elect Joe Biden, emboldened by Democratic Senate victories in Georgia, signaled in his speech Thursday night he has no intention of wasting this one.

Why it matters: The president-elect rolled out a $1.9 trillion package headlined for its coronavirus relief but including billions in spending for cybersecurity, transit, wages, health care and other progressive programs.

Updated Jan 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden on his nearly $2 trillion plan: "We cannot afford inaction”

Joe Biden before speaking Thursday. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President-elect Biden called for a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan this evening, including money to combat the spread of the virus, vaccinate millions of Americans and provide direct relief to individuals in the form of an additional $1,400 in cash payments.

Why it matters: Biden’s “American Rescue Plan” is his opening bid to Congress on the first of two massive proposals requiring approval in the House and Senate. He'll return in February, in his first address to Congress, to ask for additional infrastructure spending, as Axios reported and Biden confirmed Thursday night.

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