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Could Congress be getting closer to a deal for state, local pandemic relief?



Lawmakers are growing hopeful that there’s a chance a deal could be reached in the coming weeks on a new relief package.

While Democrats in the House say they will vote on a $2.2 trillion package, which includes $500 billion for local and state governments, Republicans say the price tag is too high.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has countered with a smaller proposal that would send $250 billion to states.

It mostly starts with the Problem Solvers Caucus, which is co-chaired by Republican Tom Reed. That’s who originally proposed a bi-partisan discussion about it – after leaders in the House and Senate came to an impasse this summer.

“Our goal all along has been to get the negotiators back to the table and restart the stimulus conversation,” said the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus in a statement.

“It’s apparent that the Problem Solvers Caucus’ comprehensive bipartisan framework did just that and has helped change the national conversation,” the group said. “We commend Speaker Pelosi and Secretary Mnuchin for getting back into the room and taking steps in the right direction toward a deal.”

New York has a budget gap in the billions, and unless federal monies are secured – will need to make major cuts to spending.

Meanwhile, a new relief package would likely mean another round of stimulus checks for taxpayers. That would likely be welcomed relief as unemployment numbers continue to trend above recession levels of the mid-2000s.