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Lawmakers closing in on COVID-19 stimulus deal

Yahoo Finance’s Julie Hyman, Myles Udland, Brian Sozzi, and Jessica Smith discuss the latest in the COVID-19 stimulus talks.

Video Transcript

MYLES UDLAND: Well, the ongoing story this last couple of weeks has not only been vaccine rollout, but whether there will be an additional stimulus package passed by lawmakers down in Washington D.C. We continue to hear Christmas as the deadline. Well, last time I checked the calendar, that's one week from today. Jessica Smith joins us now with the latest progress-- sort of-- on, on stimulus talks, as we stand here on this Friday.

JESSICA SMITH: Well, congressional leaders are still trying to work out a deal on stimulus. And it is looking like a short government shutdown is a possibility. Funding lapse at midnight tonight, and there is still no deal. It's not clear at this point if they're going to try and pass another short-term spending bill to give negotiators a few more days, so they can work through the weekend.

But even if they do try and do this short-term spending bill, they need unanimous agreement in the Senate to do that. And the number two Republican in the Senate said yesterday that he does expect that some people would object to that. So we could see a short shutdown over the weekend. If-- and-- it's only short if they actually get a deal done.

So we'll see what happens as negotiators continue to talk today. Last I heard, there were still some issues around eligibility for stimulus checks and FEMA money. And then negotiators have also said they're just trying to get the language and work out some final issues in the details of any legislative text. Because again, not only do we not have an agreement, we still don't have a bill that anyone could vote on.

So leadership has repeatedly said that they are close. And we are set to hear from them today. We could hear from majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer this morning, when the Senate starts in session. And then we are expected to hear from Speaker Pelosi at 2 o'clock this afternoon in her press conference. So we'll be looking for any sign of progress throughout the day.

MYLES UDLAND: So just as a quick follow on this, I mean, we talked-- or we heard, I guess, a couple of weeks ago that they had averted a government shutdown. Because that's sort of how legislating gets done now, right? It's one shutdown to the next.

I suppose there's a risk that if there's no deal, then the government just remains, what, in shutdown until the next session of Congress? I mean, everyone seems very optimistic right now. But saying, OK, well, we'll do this pro forma shutdown, I guess, if we want to call it that, to sort of get this across the finish line over the weekend. I mean, it kind of seems like a high wire act here.

JESSICA SMITH: Yeah, it definitely is. And we really don't know where they stand, where exactly negotiations are. As we heard from senators and other lawmakers yesterday, they were saying, you know, we're not in the room. We don't know yet. So it could be. I mean, if there is a shutdown, yes, it could drag on if there is no deal. That's always a possibility.

I don't think anyone wants a shutdown right now, but nobody ever does. Right? So yeah. It's going to be a pretty high stakes weekend, I think. We'll see what they come up with over the weekend. We have heard if there is a shutdown with a deal that is really expected on Monday, or even on Sunday, if it's expected to happen immediately after, that wouldn't have a drastic effect. You could have OMB take some steps to delay the effects of the shutdown. But if a deal is not imminent, then that could be obviously very problematic.

MYLES UDLAND: All right. Jessica Smith with the latest on where negotiations stand down in Washington. Jess, we're going to talk to you coming up in the 10:00 hour.