• Manchin: We’ll get a bill produced
  • Reuters reports his $908 billion package could be split in two
  • Holiday recess for the Senate begins Dec. 21

With a nod to the spirit of bipartisan compromise, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he expected lawmakers to produce a $908 billion stimulus bill by Monday.

Lawmakers have squabbled for months over another round of stimulus similar to the CARES Act, a March bill that supplemented state unemployment insurance and sent individuals $1,200 checks to help U.S. households.

Appearing on Fox News on Sunday, Manchin said lawmakers were working over the weekend to get a bill on the floor by Monday. However, there is no guarantee the package will include another round of direct stimulus payments.

“We’ve been meeting day and night for the last month. We were on the call all day yesterday, we’ll get on the call again this afternoon to finish things up,” he said. “We’ll have a bill produced for the American people tomorrow [of] $908 billion.”

Drew Hammill, a spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said via Twitter that the California Democrat spoke with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during the weekend about the package and would continue their talks on Monday.

From the Republican side, Maine Sen. Susan Collins wrote in The Portland (Maine) Press Herald on Sunday that one of the components, the Paycheck Protection Program that offers low-interest loans to small businesses to stay open, was worth support.

“Given the length and persistence of this pandemic, I have strongly advocated for providing small businesses with additional relief,” she wrote. “I am encouraged that Congress is nearing an agreement to allow the hardest-hit small businesses to receive a second forgivable PPP loan. ”

A person briefed on bipartisan legislation told the Reuters news service on condition of anonymity Monday that the Manchin-backed package could be split into two in order to push it through Congress.

One package would include $748 billion to support unemployment insurance, small businesses and the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. The other would include some of the more contentious issues, such as shielding businesses from pandemic-related lawsuits and $160 billion for states and local governments. There is still no mention of direct payments to U.S. households.

“There’s a lot of parts to this bill, and in the spirit of compromise, you have to work through all that,” Manchin added on Fox. “But at the end, you can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

The Senate is tentatively scheduled to go into holiday recess from Dec. 21 through the end of the year, suggesting that any relief measure would have to wait until 2021 if lawmakers are unable to act this week.

Joe Manchin Senators like Joe Manchin, pictured here, would be best suited to focus on big issues and not college football realignment. Photo: REUTERS