Lawmakers Begin Talks on Another Round of Coronavirus Relief for Businesses

Washington Post

January 5, 2022 2:34 pm

Democratic and Republican lawmakers have held early discussions about another round of coronavirus stimulus spending as they seek to blunt the fast-spreading omicron variant and its threats to public health and economic recovery.

The efforts have focused primarily on authorizing billions of dollars to help an array of businesses — including restaurants, performance venues, gyms and even minor league sports teams — that face another potential blow to their already-battered balance sheets as a result of the evolving pandemic.

In recent weeks, the talks have been led by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), according to four people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe their work, which is ongoing. The duo in mid-December cobbled together the outlines of a roughly $68 billion proposal, two of the people said, which could include a mix of new spending and a repurposing of some unused cash authorized under previous packages.