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Manchin joins bipartisan $908 billion coronavirus relief plan

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Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks with reporters after President Donald Trump was acquitted in an impeachment trial on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

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February 07 2021 06:00 pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WOWK/CBS) – West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin (D) joined members from both political parties and both chambers of Congress Tuesday to unveil a $908 billion COVID-19 relief plan they want to see passed before the end of the year.

The plan is seen as a stop-gap to help provide some assistance as several key relief measures are set to expire December 31st.

Among the programs expiring is a nationwide moritorium on evictions by landlords announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for gig workers, freelancers and the self-employed and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program which gives an extra 13 weeks of benefits to those who’s state unemployment has run out.

“We’re battling COVID-19 more fiercely now than we ever have before, we recognize that, and it’s inexcusable for us to leave town without an agreement,” said Manchin at a mid-morning news conference announcing the plan. He added that it’s “not the time for political brinkmanship.”

The plan includes $160 billion for state and local governments facing declining revenue from business shutdowns. It also has $288 billion, including Paycheck Progection Program money, for small businesses. The measure also allocates $82 billion for education, $16 billion for vaccine development, distributing, testing and contact tracing and an additional $180 billion for additional unemployment insurance.

The measure does not include another round of stimulus checks for the general public.

The package also includes limited liability protection from coronavirus-related lawsuits, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says is a must for any package to get approval in the Senate.

The package is seen as a compromise between the $2.2 trillion measure passed by the House and rejected by the Seante and a $500 billion measure proposed by McConnell but blocked twice by Senate Democrats as inadequate.

Co-sponsors include seven members from both parties in the House and nine members of the Senate including Republicans Mitt Romney (R-UT), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

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