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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talks with reporters today in the Mansfield Room at the U.S. Capitol. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Image

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell circulated a new framework for coronavirus stimulus legislation to Republican members on Tuesday that would establish a fresh round of funding for the small-business Paycheck Protection Program and implement widespread liability protections, according to a copy of the draft proposal obtained by Axios.

Driving the news: The revised GOP relief plan comes after McConnell's meeting with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, during which they went over in detail what provisions would get backing from President Trump.

The draft outline includes:

  • $332.7 billion in small business relief, including $257.7 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
  • $10 billion Treasury loan to USPS.
  • $105 billion to “help get students back in school” and provide resources for continued learning.
  • $16 billion for testing, contact tracing and surveillance in states.
  • $31 billion for vaccine, therapeutic and diagnostic development, vaccine distribution, the Strategic National Stockpile, and grants for state stockpiles.
  • $20 billion of additional farm assistance.
  • $500 million of federal assistance for fisheries, fishery participants and communities affected by COVID.
  • $5 billion to directly support child care providers.

The big picture: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also spoke with Mnuchin on Tuesday about a “bipartisan path” for coronavirus relief — the first such talk since Oct. 26.

  • Pelosi said any stimulus proposal must ensure the vaccine is free and accessible to everyone.
  • Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also sent a draft proposal to GOP leadership and the White House this week, and a bipartisan group of lawmakers unveiled their own framework earlier Tuesday morning.

Between the lines: The parties are still far apart on key priorities, leaving many lawmakers skeptical over whether a comprehensive deal is possible before Trump leaves office.

  • However, it may be more feasible to tie some of the widely agreed upon provisions to the government funding bill that must pass by year's end to avert a shutdown.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify that Kevin McCarthy is House minority leader.

Go deeper

16 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Vaccinations, relief timing dominate Sweet 16 call

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) speaks during a news conference in December with a group of bipartisan lawmakers. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Vaccine distribution, pandemic data and a cross-party comity dominated today's virtual meeting between White House officials and a bipartisan group of lawmakers, Senator Angus King told Axios.

Why it matters: Given Democrats' razor-thin majority in both chambers of Congress, President Biden will have to rely heavily on this group of centrist lawmakers — dubbed the "Sweet 16" — to pass any substantial legislation.

14 mins ago - Health

Moderna says vaccine appears to protect against new COVID-19 variants

Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine is effective against new variants of the virus that first appeared in the U.K. and in South Africa, the company announced on Monday.

Yes, but: The vaccine was as effective against the strain from U.K., but saw a six-fold reduction in antibodies against the South Africa variant. Even still, the neutralizing antibodies generated by the vaccine "remain above levels that are expected to be protective," according to the company.

Dave Lawler, author of World
Updated 19 mins ago - World

Xi Jinping warns against "new cold war" in Davos speech

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Wang Zhao - Pool/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping warned that a "new cold war" could turn hot, and must be avoided, in a speech on Monday at World Economic Forum’s virtual “Davos Agenda” conference.

Why it matters: Xi didn't refer directly to U.S.-China tensions, but the subtext was clear. These were his first remarks to an international audience since the inauguration of President Biden, whose administration has already concurred with Donald Trump's determination that China is committing "genocide" against Uyghur Muslims, and issued a warning about China's aggression toward Taiwan.