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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Congressional leaders are moving closer to striking a compromise on coronavirus relief funding, and could soon announce a roughly $900 billion rescue package with a second round of direct payments as low as $600, sources familiar with the talks tell Axios.

The state of play: Negotiations between House and Senate leaders and the White House are ongoing and the details are not yet finalized, but this is the closest Congress has been to reaching a stimulus deal in months.

  • Their goal is to tie a relief package to long-term government funding legislation that must pass by Friday to avert a shutdown.
  • Details of the potential compromise were first reported by Politico.

What we're hearing: The proposal is expected to include nearly all of the provisions included in the $748 billion bill put forth by a bipartisan group of lawmakers earlier this week.

  • It's expected to leave out the most contested aspects — including additional funding for state and local governments and a liability shield for businesses.
  • But unlike the bipartisan bill, the leadership proposal is expected to include stimulus checks — something the White House pushed for in the 11th-hour talks.
  • However, the amount will likely be closer to $600, not the $1,200 checks included in the March CARES package. Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who have called for $1,200 checks, suggested last week they would hold up government funding if Congress doesn't pass direct payments.

Behind the scenes: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy were locked in negotiations until nearly midnight Wednesday morning.

  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin participated on behalf of the White House.

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.

Updated Jan 13, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump becomes first president to be impeached twice

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House voted 232-197 to impeach President Trump for “incitement of insurrection" after a violent pro-Trump mob breached the U.S. Capitol last week while Congress met to count the Electoral College vote.

Why it matters: Trump is now the only president in history to have been impeached twice — his first impeachment happened just over a year ago in December of 2019. He has just one week left in his term before President-elect Biden is sworn-in on Jan. 20.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.