Congress expects to spend the weekend before Christmas in Washington as negotiations continue on a new $900 billion coronavirus stimulus bill.

Lawmakers had hoped to combine the stimulus with legislation funding the government past Friday, but House Democrats and Senate Republicans made plans to pass a short-term temporary spending bill to avoid another shutdown and provide more time to work toward an agreement on both measures.

Even if a stimulus deal is made, Gov. Phil Murphy said it would be far short of what was needed.

“We need a big moment to match this pandemic moment,” Murphy said Friday at his latest coronavirus briefing. “I think the number’s 3 to 4 trillion (dollars) and they’re spending an enormous amount of time making sure it is under 1 trillion. I’m not sure what they’re worried about.”

Some last-minute snags have complicated efforts to reach a deal on a stimulus package that would include direct checks of around $600, extend unemployment insurance benefits, and add a new round of forgivable loans for small businesses and make it easier for restaurants to qualify. Read More..