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Federal relief package could arrive in the coming weeks, says Sen. Coons

Roman Battaglia / Delaware Public Media

Unemployment remains high in Delaware -- and many are anxiously waiting for additional federal funds to help.

But the state’s Congressional delegation is hopeful that wait is almost over.

Job growth is slowing amidst a third wave of the pandemic that’s expected to overshadow spring case numbers.

Sen. Chris Coons says Congress is close to locking in a relief bill to get Delawareans through the rest of the year.

“This is a high stakes week for the Senate. I’ve had lots and lots of input from Delawareans expressing concerns, wanting an additional stimulus check, wanting an extension of unemployment, concerned that they’re about to evicted because the eviction moratorium comes to an end. All of this can be solved with some simple bipartisan compromise this week in the senate.”

Coons applauds the work of the bipartisan group of senators for breaking the gridlock that’s kept a relief bill from passing for months.

Stumbling blocks remain such as aid for state and local governments and liability protection for businesses, which Coons says Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is demanding.

Coons has urged the Senate for months to find common ground, and has worked with Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) among others.

Sen. Tom Carper says this bill is just the start of needed compromise to tackle big issues.

“This is not a time for us to go to our separate corners—this is a time for us to engage and get this job done. I’m encouraged to think that we will we have the potential for passing that, passing a budget bill to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year; and also to do some good work on the climate change, fighting the climate crisis that we all wanna do something about.”

Stimulus checks are not currently in the relief bill, but some, including Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, are seeking separate legislation on that issue.

Coons adds, on top of the COVID relief bill, Congress must pass a spending bill before the end of the year, to avoid a government shutdown.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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