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Fate of the stimulus looks bleak as lawmakers turn attention to spending deadline

November 17, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 17: Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, testifies on the Smithsonian American Women's History Museum Act as Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who testified on the National Museum of the American Latino Act, looks on, during the Senate Rules Committee hearing in Russell Building on Tuesday, November 17, 2020. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

As coronavirus cases spike around the country, hospitalizations reach new records and President Donald Trump continues to refuse to concede the election, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are less and less confident that any stimulus deal can be reached in the lame duck with focus turning instead to a government spending negotiation that must be finished by December 11.

Democrats -- including President-elect Joe Biden -- have urged Senate Republicans to pass House Democrats' Heroes Act, which totals more than $2 trillion.

"I think right now the Democrats would have to come a long ways back to reality to us to get a bill," Sen. Dick Shelby, an Alabama Republican and the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee said Tuesday.

We need a comprehensive bill that meets the needs of the American people," top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said.

Pelosi and Schumer sent a letter to McConnell later Tuesday urging him to negotiate a deal "this week" on a funding relief bill, saying "for the sake of the country, we ask that you come to the table and work with us to produce an agreement that meet Americans needs in the critical time. "

Meanwhile, Republican and Democratic aides tell CNN that negotiations over the spending bill is going more smoothly with both sides setting a goal to agree on topline numbers by the end of the week.

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