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Rep. Cole: 'We're Pretty Close to One Another' on New Virus Relief Bill

U.S. House

Oklahoma Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cole believes Congress could settle on a new coronavirus relief bill late this week.

Cole, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, said in a weekly, online video update lawmakers seem to be in agreement about everything except whether funding should go toward renewing enhanced unemployment benefits above what states offer or another round of stimulus payments to all Americans.

"And that’s really the debate. Do we need to give checks to people that don’t need it, or should we focus all our help on people that do? So, that needs to be worked out, but I think there’s no question that the bill is necessary," Cole said.

A relief package in the neighborhood of $900 billion dollars is what’s on the table. Cole said slowing economic growth, rising unemployment, and spiking coronavirus infections and deaths have convinced enough lawmakers it’s necessary.

"We all agree there needs to be additional money for small businesses. We all agree there needs to be additional money for vaccine distribution. We all agree there needs to be additional money to help schools open and deal with the problems that they’re facing. So, really, we’re pretty close to one another. This gets down to whether or not people can put their individual egos aside," Cole said.

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