Michelle Lujan Grisham, the governor of New Mexico
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Some states and cities are forging ahead to provide relief to residents financially scarred by the Covid crisis, as negotiations for a federal rescue package continue on Capitol Hill.
Alaska, California, Colorado, Maryland, New Mexico and New York City are among the areas that have injected fresh rounds of assistance over the past two weeks, including stimulus checks, extra unemployment benefits, interest-free loans for small businesses and housing assistance.
Minnesota lawmakers are working to push through similar measures.
The collective action to pump money into households and local economies is happening as Congress negotiates the contours of more federal Covid relief. Those talks, which have been ongoing for months, seem to be bearing fruit.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Wednesday expressed support for a bipartisan $908 billion measure — more than $1 trillion less than their prior asking price. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Thursday that “compromise is within reach.”
Meanwhile, aid programs for the jobless, renters and student borrowers — which are each supporting millions of Americans — expire at year’s end. Covid cases and deaths are rising nationwide, job growth has slowed and the winter months threaten further pain for businesses.
“We know that Colorado or any state can only do so much, and national help is urgently needed,” said Gov. Jared Polis said Wednesday.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis
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“We see light at the end of the tunnel with news of a vaccine, but the consequences of this pandemic will be far lingering if Washington fails to act,” the Democrat added.
Colorado started issuing $375 stimulus payments to residents who’ve suffered financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, Polis and the state Labor Department said Wednesday.
All workers eligible for $25 to $500 a week in unemployment benefits between March 15 and Oct. 24 will get the one-time boost.