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US Lawmakers Reach Agreement on Stimulus Bill, Vote Could Come Tonight, McConnell Says: CNBC

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Congress reached agreement Sunday on a $900 billion pandemic relief package, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, CNBC reported.

  • A vote could come as soon as Sunday evening.

  • While the text of the bill wasn’t released, the pact is expected to provide $300 a week in enhanced federal unemployment benefits, a $600 check to many Americans, plus help for schools, vaccine distribution and small businesses, the WSJ said earlier Sunday.

  • In good news for those who welcome the Federal Reserve’s free-printing ways, a move by some Republican senators to use the bill to put a check on the central bank was only partly successful, the WSJ reported.

  • Under a pact reached Saturday night, the Fed would keep its powers to set up emergency lending programs without first getting congressional approval, the WSJ reported, citing aides familiar with the legislation.

  • Negotiators did agree the central bank won’t be able to replicate programs identical to the ones it started at the start of the pandemic without getting prior approval. The Fed’s ability to initiate different programs would be unaffected, the sources told the WSJ.

Why this matters to the crypto world:

  1. Because the stimulus package would be a boost for stock markets, it could also provide a lift to the price of cryptocurrencies, particularly if stimulus check recipients use that money to buy cryptocurrencies.

  2. Crypto investors have been betting all year that the flood of government and central bank spending to fight the coronavirus-caused economic slowdown will eventually lead to inflation, which would also be beneficial for bitcoin.

  3. All the stimulus is calling into question the independence of the Federal Reserve, which to prevent short-term economic ruin has been basically printing money with abandon, leaving itself open to criticism about the mountain of debt these spending sprees are creating.

Update (Dec. 10, 23:11 UTC): Adds that agreement has been reached.

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