With the Omicron variant of COVID-19 currently surging in the United States, lawmakers are reportedly considering a new stimulus package for American businesses.
The Washington Post reported that Democrat and Republican lawmakers alike have been in talks about a potential new economic relief packages for businesses, particularly hard-hit ones like restaurants. The talks are being led by Sens. Ben Cardin, a Democrat from Maryland, and Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican, and the two lawmakers already put together a $68 billion proposal last month.
“We started with restaurants but we’re prepared to expand it if we can have the necessary support,” Cardin said on Wednesday. “There’s other industries that have legitimate concerns.”
Cardin went on to say that lawmakers are looking into “how much is needed” for the restaurant fund.
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said that he’s open to a targeted relief package for restaurants because it’s been hit the hardest while also being the last type of business to recover.
“I would be open to reasonable discussions in a bipartisan way,” Cramer told Business Insider. He added that while is isn’t yet convinced of the need, he thinks “we are starting the process.”
Cramer then explained that in order to get the ten Republican votes that are needed, it would need to focus on giving aid to businesses and “keeping people working, keeping things being produced, as opposed to just free money somewhere.”
“I think there’s some members who are interested in some more COVID relief for restaurants and other things, and that could certainly become part of a package,” said crucial Senator Roy Blunt (R-MI). He added that he sees an “opportunity” to explore new payments and that he would like to take advantage of some “real appropriations work” as Democrats continue “their reckless spending spree.”
Democrats like Sen. Ron Wyden (R-KS), chair of the Senate Finance Committee, are already throwing their support behind another stimulus package.
“I think the need is very significant,” he said. “There are a lot of people who tell us that they’re going to be falling between the cracks — that there was a big, big problem before the new variant — and it’s gotten greater in the last few weeks.”
This comes as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is surging in the United States, even among those who have gotten their coronavirus jabs.
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