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A Catholic order has pledged $ 100 million to atone for its participation in the slave trade. Some descendants want a new deal.

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Ronda Thompson received the amazing news in a text from her sister. The Jesuits, the eminent order of Catholic priests who had enslaved his ancestors, had sworn to raise $ 100 million to atone for participation in the slave trade in the United States.

Ms. Thompson read the attached article, first with astonishment, then with dismay. The money would flow into a new foundation. But about half of the foundation’s annual budget would go to racial reconciliation projects, not descendants. And the deal was made in a series of private meetings with three downline leaders. No one had contacted her or her sister, Chanda Norton, or the descendants they knew for their contribution.

“They wronged our ancestors,” said Ms. Thompson, whose ancestors were enslaved by the Jesuits in Maryland. “It is as if the descendants are also wronged.”

Last month, the Jesuit Conference of Priests announced plans to raise funds to benefit the descendants of slaves the order once possessed and to promote racial reconciliation projects. The move, made in partnership with three descendant leaders, represents the Roman Catholic Church’s greatest effort to be forgiven for buying, selling and enslaving black people, Church officials and historians have said. .

But the news was met with mixed emotions from descendants across the country.

Some descendants, including Ms Thompson and Ms Norton, have staged petitions calling on Rome to reopen negotiations, a request the Jesuits in Rome have so far seemed reluctant to consider. Others have held meetings over conference calls and video calls, dotting downline leaders with questions in recent briefings.

Kevin Porter, an archivist whose ancestors were also enslaved by the Jesuits of Maryland, initially hailed the plan as “an unprecedented step towards redressing the injustice of slavery.” But he’s increasingly concerned about putting so much money aside for racial healing initiatives at the expense of other needs.

“I wish there were more programs for mental health, financial literacy and education, things that could empower African Americans,” said Porter, who attended a recent briefing organized by downline leaders.

A simmering concern is whether the leaders – Joseph M. Stewart, Cheryllyn Branche, and Earl Williams Sr. – adequately reflected the voices and needs of the wider community in their negotiations with the Jesuits.

The three leaders said their organization, the GU272 Descendants Association, represented “a majority” of descendants in a memorandum of understanding that they and the Jesuits signed in 2019. At the time, around 490 people had signed the group’s statement, but fewer than 50 had become members, according to Karran Royal, the association’s former chief executive and founder of the group.

About 5,000 living descendants of people sold by the Jesuits in 1838 to keep Georgetown University afloat have been identified by genealogists at the Georgetown Memory Project, a nonprofit group. The group estimates that around 10,000 descendants of other people enslaved by the Jesuits are alive today.

Mr Stewart said the wording of the memorandum was intended to reflect the hope that the organization would become a home for most descendants, not the actual members of the group.

“We could have been clearer about our aspirations to represent all descendants, living and deceased,” said Mr. Stewart, Acting Chairman of the newly established Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation. “We are always open and eager to work with anyone who wishes to be a part of what has been created.”

Mr Stewart said he and other leaders shared the foundation’s goals, including its goal of supporting racial reconciliation projects, with descendants over the years, while acknowledging that specific details of the plan do not had only become public last month.

But Ms Thompson said the Jesuits had an obligation to ensure they negotiated with leaders representing a wide range of descendants and to ensure that those descendants were consulted.

“You can’t say you atone and reconcile and don’t do it with 100% effort,” Ms. Thompson said. “The Society of Jesus should have ensured that most of the descendants were included. Instead, they struck a half-baked deal with representatives who never represented the majority of descendants.

The Jesuits relied on slave labor and the sale of slaves for more than a century to support the clergy and to help finance the construction and day-to-day operations of churches and schools, including Georgetown, the first Catholic institution higher education in the country.

Descendants began pushing for negotiations with the Jesuits after learning from a series of articles in the New York Times in 2016 that their ancestors had been sold to help keep Georgetown afloat.

In addition to supporting racial reconciliation projects, about a quarter of the new foundation’s annual budget will support educational opportunities for descendants in the form of scholarships and grants, Jesuit and descendant leaders said. A smaller portion of the budget will meet the emergency needs of elderly and infirm descendants.

A spokesperson for the Jesuits in Rome declined to comment on specific concerns raised by descendants, saying Reverend Arturo Sosa, the superior general of the order, remains confident in the Jesuit leadership in the United States to handle the issue of slavery. and reconciliation.

The Rev. Timothy P. Kesicki, president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, declined to directly address concerns about whether the top down leaders had distorted the extent of their support. Instead, he hailed the partnership with the descendants as collaborative and the association GU272 as “open and inclusive of all descendants of Jesuit slavery”.

Maxine Crump, whose ancestors were sold in 1838, also praised the plan.

“It was supposed to be a small group process,” she said of the negotiations. “It is important to have gone this far, so fast.”

Mr Stewart said he was not surprised by the range of reactions. He urged the descendants to join the GU272 association so that they can voice their opinions and apply for grants once the foundation is up and running. (The $ 15 per year membership fee will be waived for the needy, Ms. Branche said.)

“There will always be differences of opinion; we respect that, ”said Mr. Stewart. “But whenever a different opinion arises, we cannot, as a legitimate organization, we cannot change our goals and objectives.

“We will continue to reach out to those who want to enter,” he said. “Do you want your voice to be heard?” To be involved. Pass it through the appropriate channels. You can make an impact, but there is a process to make it happen. “

But Ms Royal, the association’s former director, said she and others would continue to pressure the Jesuits to reopen the process. “There are so many voices left out,” said Ms. Royal, whose husband’s ancestors were enslaved by the Jesuits. “Jesuits owe it to the descending community to hear various voices.”

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For Biden, a new viral dilemma: how to deal with an impending vaccine glut

But while Johnson & Johnson has lagged behind other manufacturers, its technology holds great promise for mass production as it can deliver many more doses per batch.

Later this year, when Merck & Company is expected to start producing Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, it could produce 100 million doses per month – or as many as Pfizer and Moderna together deliver each month. The White House has welcomed the deal between Johnson & Johnson and Merck, but by the time production levels up, those doses could be destined for a growing surplus or for export.

One option is to ship the frozen vaccine that will be manufactured at the Merck plant overseas, where it can be bottled at a lower cost. Of the $ 10 the federal government has agreed to pay for a dose of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, the drug substance itself is only about 30 cents, federal officials said. The rest corresponds to the so-called filling and finishing cost.

If AstraZeneca gets emergency use clearance from US regulators, that will throw even more hits into the mix. Authorities expect around 50 million doses to be ready for delivery in May.

But officials in the Biden administration are worried about AstraZeneca’s vaccine. It appears to be about as efficient as that of Johnson & Johnson, but requires additional fire, which means a more complicated deployment. Some health officials fear that if there are already enough doses in the pipeline to cover every adult who wants a vaccine, the introduction of a fourth vaccine will only create confusion.

On the other hand, if the administration decides to give the doses of AstraZeneca without offering them to its own citizens, other countries could conclude that the United States lacks confidence in the safety or effectiveness of the vaccine. .

“As we gain confidence in the doses we have and the ability or the need or not to boost, then we can make a more definitive statement about the role of the AZ product in the United States.” he gets clearance, Dr Fauci said in an interview this week, “but at the moment I think he’s too premature to say anything.”

Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Benjamin mueller and Matina Stevis-Gridneff contribution to reports. Kitty bennett contributed to the research.

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Iran slows down nuclear inspectors, but appears to be giving way to deal

Iran appears to have partly lifted its threat to sharply limit international inspections of its nuclear facilities as of Tuesday, giving Western countries three months to see if the start of a new diplomatic initiative with the United States and the United States. Europe will reinstate the 2015 nuclear deal.

After a weekend in Tehran, Rafael Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said on Sunday that his inspectors would have “less access” from Tuesday, but that they could still monitor the main production sites where Iran has said it manufactures nuclear material. He did not describe what form these new limits would take, but said there would be a three-month hiatus on some of Iran’s new restrictions under a “technical annex” that did not has not been made public.

At the same time, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that under a law passed by the country’s parliament, Tehran would no longer abide by an agreement with the nuclear agency that gives inspectors the right to require access to any site where they suspicious nuclear activity may have taken place. He also said inspectors could not get footage from security cameras that keep some of the sites under constant surveillance.

The vague announcement appeared to be part of maneuvers in Iran on how to respond to an offer by the Biden administration to resume diplomatic contact on restoring the deal that President Donald J. Trump abandoned nearly three years. President Biden and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken have offered to join European nations in what would be the first substantial diplomacy with Tehran in more than four years.

“Iran has yet to respond,” Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “But what happened as a result was that the script was flipped. It is Iran that is now diplomatically isolated, not the United States. And the ball is in their court.

Iran has consistently tried to pressure Washington to lift sanctions, with gradual increases in the amount of nuclear fuel it produces and announcements that it is starting to enrich uranium to higher levels. high, closer to bomb grade materials. Threatening to restrict inspectors is part of that effort.

But now the Iranians are finding themselves in a corner of their own accord: with a presidential election in four months, no one wants to appear weak in the face of international pressure.

Iranian leaders also recognize that Mr Biden’s election gives them their best chance since 2018 to see sanctions lifted – and international oil sales are pouring in. This will require restoring the production limits prescribed in the 2015 agreement. The agreement also requires Iran to submit to snap inspections of sites not declared under what is called the Additional Protocol, the rules that the Most members of the International Atomic Energy Agency join by granting inspectors broader rights.

Mr Grossi and White House officials appeared keen to avoid any suggestion that the limits on inspectors created a crisis such as the one the Clinton administration faced in 1994, when North Korea expelled the agency inspectors and ran for a bomb. In this case, inspectors will continue their work in Iran, even if their vision of nuclear fuel production and their ability to trace past nuclear activities is limited.

“Grossi has mitigated some damage,” said Andrea Stricker, a researcher at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, who was a major criticism of the deal with Iran, on Sunday. But she added that “reducing surveillance in any form is extremely problematic given the major nuclear advances that Iran has undertaken,” particularly after the agency began to question it. past nuclear activity at sites where it had found traces of radioactive material.

“The IAEA must publish the technical agreement and explain exactly how the surveillance has been reduced so that the international community can assess the seriousness of Iran’s move,” Stricker said.

Henry Rome, an expert on Iran at the Eurasia Group, said Sunday’s announcement “presents an opening, but we are not out of the woods yet,” noting that the country has continued to ramp up its enrichment of uranium and testing new, more advanced centrifuges to produce the fuel.

The news that Iran had come to some sort of accommodation with Mr. Grossi that could buy diplomacy time drew reactions from all factions in Iran. And the lack of details from the country’s atomic energy agency and the international nuclear agency gave material to both those who wanted to restore the deal and those who thought it was a lot. too restrictive for Iran’s capabilities.

Conservative commentators have taken to social media to criticize the government for circumventing a law passed by parliament in January that requires restricting inspectors’ access.

“Bypass the law?” Seyed Nezameddin Mousavi, a conservative lawmaker, tweeted on Sunday, suggesting the government was trying to circumvent Parliament’s actions. “It seems my anxiety was justified.

Proponents of diplomacy praised the government for its creative thinking on how to recognize the legal requirement without removing the inspectors. Some have suggested that the compromise involved Iran’s agreement to preserve footage recorded by security cameras that monitor fuel production, but not hand them over to inspectors until the 2015 deal is reinstated.

“The Iranians have accepted more than it seems at this stage, but because for the IAEA to be fully satisfied there has to be continuity of knowledge,” said Ali Vaez, Iranian director of the ‘International Crisis Group. “It basically delayed the crisis.”

Rick gladstone contribution to reports.

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Biden’s pick for Iranian envoy resuscitates bitter debate over nuclear deal

But Mr Malley, the son of an Arab Jewish left, is a well-known advocate for engaging with groups and governments – including, over the years, Hamas, Hezbollah and President Bashar al-Assad. of Syria – widely regarded as enemies of the United States. States and Israel and, by some, morally prohibited from contact. For his detractors, he is too suspicious of American power and too compassionate of foreign actors, especially Iran and the Palestinians who have deep differences with the West.

As Mr Biden’s spokesman for Iran, responsible for containing its expanding nuclear program, fear the criticism, Mr Malley will push for a new deal with Tehran that will concede too much to its clerical leaders in the name of of reconciliation. When news of his appointment first hit the media, Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, condemned “radicals like Malley” who, he said, has “a long experience of sympathy for the Iranian regime” and “of animosity towards Israel”.

Other opponents of negotiations with Iran expressed their concern in more moderate terms. “The appointment of Rob Malley may be a clear indication that the Biden administration is prioritizing a return to the JCPOA rather than a policy of deploying American power to secure a more compressive and permanent deal,” said Mark Dubowitz , director general of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, referring to the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which he has long opposed. “Malley does not believe in American power,” he added.

Defenders for Mr Malley, whose position does not require Senate confirmation, say he has become a convenient target for an opening salvo from the US and Israeli right to warn the Biden administration not to try too hard to work with Tehran on another nuclear deal. like the 2015 accord which became one of the bitterest foreign policy battles of the Obama years.

“Most of Rob’s judgments come from people who don’t know him and who choose to believe that he has no conception of American national interests, and that it’s about trying at all costs to find a way to be reconciled with our enemies ”. said Aaron David Miller, a Middle East peace negotiator under several presidents who has worked with and is close to Mr Malley.

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Chicago teachers reach tentative deal to reopen schools.

The Chicago Teachers Union has reached an agreement in principle with Mayor Lori Lightfoot to reopen schools across the city for in-person classes, the mayor said on Sunday.

If finalized, the deal would avert a strike that threatened to disrupt the education of students in the country’s third largest school district.

Under the deal, the preschool and some special education students would return to classrooms on Thursday. Kindergarten to Grade 5 class staff would return on February 22, and students in those classes would return on March 1.

The deal must be approved by the union’s elected governing body, the House of Delegates, the mayor said. The union leadership is expected to meet its base on Sunday afternoon and then the House of Delegates will meet, according to a person familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the union did not want the deal to go through. audience before members had a chance to see it.

The Chicago Tribune reported on the deal’s existence on Sunday morning. Shortly after, the union published on Twitter: “We don’t have an agreement with the Chicago public schools yet. The mayor and his team made an offer to our members late last night which deserves further consideration. We will continue our democratic baseline review process throughout the day before a deal is reached.

Mayor Lightfoot and the union have been locked in one of the most intense battles for reopening across the country. The mayor argued that the city’s most vulnerable students needed the opportunity to return to school in person, while the union condemned the plan to reopen the city as dangerous.

A similar fight is underway in Philadelphia, where K-2 teachers are expected to show up at school buildings on Monday to prepare for the return of students on February 22. The teachers’ union has told its members to continue working remotely, saying it is not yet safe to return to school buildings.

Ms Lightfoot said on Sunday the battle with the union in Chicago had been bitter. She said she heard from parents who believed they were being held hostage and their voices had been muffled. She sought to put the vitriol in the past.

“My fellow Chicagoans, we have to move forward and we have to heal,” she said.

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Last-day deal between Trump official and ICE union ties Biden’s hands

Notably, the acting head of ICE at the end of the Trump administration did not sign the new labor agreement, which met during a time of bureaucratic turmoil. Acting ICE director Tony Pham abruptly resigned at the end of December. He was replaced by Jonathan Fahey, who abruptly resigned on January 13.

Mr. Fahey was replaced by Tae D. Johnson, who did not sign the agreement. Instead, on the signature lines, Mr. Cuccinelli is identified “for the agency” but without a title. Mr Cuccinelli said it was appropriate for him to sign the deal as acting deputy secretary, and he did so after getting advice from the attorney general.

Before resigning, Mr Fahey had for days rejected efforts to strengthen the ICE union and ultimately refused to sign the deal, according to the senior homeland security official familiar with the matter.

The Trump administration had attempted in various ways to give Mr. Cuccinelli a leadership role in the Department of Homeland Security without going through Senate confirmation, but the legal legitimacy of his appointment to various positions was a recurring dispute.

In 2019, Mr. Trump attempted to make Mr. Cuccinelli the acting head of the ministry’s citizenship and immigration services agency. But in March 2020, a federal judge ruled his appointment illegal, overturning policies he had taken because he lacked legal authority to hold the post. The Trump administration has not appealed this decision.

The administration also attempted to make Mr. Cuccinelli the No. 2 in the department, giving him the title of senior official performing the duties of deputy secretary. In August, the Government Accountability Office issued an opinion that this appointment was also legally invalid, although it was not a court decision.

Mr Cuccinelli has repeatedly pressured ICE leaders to adopt tougher policies. Shortly after joining Citizenship and Immigration Services, Mr. Cuccinelli pushed the agency to add new restrictions to the student visa program, which is under the authority of ICE and not the agency. that he was supposed to lead at the time. His actions angered other ministry officials and prompted intervention from Kevin K. McAleenan, former acting Homeland Security secretary.

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Pfizer signs deal with US for additional 100 million doses of vaccine

The Trump administration and Pfizer on Wednesday announced an agreement for the pharmaceutical company to provide an additional 100 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine by the end of July, easing a potential shortage.

The deal, along with orders for another vaccine made by Moderna, means the United States has now secured commitments for doses sufficient to immunize all but about 60 million of the approximately 260 million eligible adult Americans for be vaccinated.

Pfizer had agreed this summer, even before its vaccine proved effective, to provide 100 million initial doses to the United States. Under the new deal, Pfizer will deliver an additional 70 million doses by the end of June and an additional 30 million by the end of July, doubling the deliveries promised in the original contract.

So far, Pfizer and Moderna, the only two producers whose vaccines have been approved for emergency distribution to Americans, have jointly pledged to ship 400 million doses over the next seven months. Both vaccines require two doses.

The U.S. government will pay $ 1.95 billion for the second order, or $ 19.50 per dose, according to a company statement. Pfizer’s vaccine was developed with a German partner, BioNTech.

As part of the deal, the government agreed to invoke the Defense Production Act to help Pfizer gain better access to about nine specialty products it needs to make the vaccine. Under Korean War-era law, the government can secure critical supplies more quickly by prioritizing a contract, forcing suppliers to shift orders from that contractor to the fore.

The government’s promise to release supplies is not mentioned in statements released by Pfizer or the government, but was essential to the deal, according to people familiar with the negotiations.

As early as September, Pfizer began asking for government help with refueling, according to documents reviewed by the New York Times. By this time, the administration had already given priority status to orders from Moderna and other companies that had worked more closely with it to develop their vaccines, putting Pfizer at a disadvantage. This included two companies – Sanofi and Novavax – which have yet to start large-scale clinical trials in the United States.

A senior Trump administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to speak freely about the internal talks, said the government was unwilling to intervene on Pfizer’s behalf earlier because the company refused to promise that it would use raw materials purchased with government assistance to produce vaccines only. for Americans.

Others familiar with the negotiations said the government feared that Pfizer’s prioritization would compress the supply chain, hampering other vaccine makers the government was supporting through its vaccine development program, called Operation. Warp Speed.

The new deal with Pfizer includes options whereby the government could purchase an additional 400 million doses. But the conditions for exercising these options were not clear. The earlier July contract gave Pfizer the ability to “reasonably” deny a federal government request for more doses.

The administration has been negotiating with Pfizer for more doses for over a month. Among the hurdles were Pfizer’s commitments to other countries that had moved faster than the United States to lock in large orders, according to people familiar with the situation.

Federal officials including Alex M. Azar II, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, have repeatedly said the administration has secured pledges of sufficient doses to cover all Americans who wish to be vaccinated from here June. But even with Pfizer’s new contract, the government is still running out of doses for around 60 million Americans eligible for vaccination.

A third vaccine maker, Johnson & Johnson, is expected to announce the results of its clinical trials next month and could fill a gap. Other vaccine manufacturers participating in Operation Warp Speed ​​could also step in, but have so far experienced significant delays.

During a briefing Wednesday, Moncef Slaoui, one of the leaders of Operation Warp Speed, said Johnson & Johnson’s product looked like “a wonderful vaccine” and could significantly increase the country’s supply. ‘here spring. Instead of a shortage, he said, “the likelihood is that there will be significant redundancy” of doses for Americans in the first half of next year.

According to a document that a European official posted and then deleted on social media, Pfizer struck a deal last month to sell the European Union 200 million doses at a cost of $ 14.50 each. But it is not known if this price is correct. In its two contracts, the United States agreed to pay Pfizer $ 19.50 per dose.

Pfizer simply said its prices were based on volume and delivery dates, and the European Union placed the largest order first.

The Pfizer contracts alone will now cost the government nearly $ 4 billion. On Monday, Congress approved a stimulus package that provided $ 20 billion for the government to buy vaccines.

But in a surprise turnaround on Tuesday night, President Trump spoke out against the bill, hinting that he might not sign it in its current form.

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Climate change legislation included in coronavirus relief deal

Industry pressure to pass the bill has won support from Republicans, despite Mr. Trump’s opposition to climate policy. At least 16 Republicans have signed on as sponsors of the legislation, which was co-drafted by Senator Thomas Carper of Delaware, the rank Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and Senator John Kennedy, Republican of Louisiana. Mr. Kennedy’s state is home to hundreds of chemical manufacturing facilities; he designed the bill as a job creator for these companies.

“American jobs are at stake and we can protect them by keeping the United States competitive in global industry,” he said. “To create thousands of jobs, save billions of dollars and protect the environment, we must invest in alternatives to HFCs.”

Environmental groups have celebrated the support of Republicans like Mr. Kennedy. “It shows what we’ve seen from this election – voters want climate action and even some Republicans want climate action, and the Republicans leading this HFC deal are starting to get it,” Matthew said. Davis, legislative director of the League. conservation voters.

In addition to the HFC bill, the largest spending program also included a bipartisan renewable energy bill, co-sponsored by Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, and Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia, president. and senior member of the Senate Energy Committee. .

The bill would not appropriate any new government spending, but it would allow $ 35 billion in existing government funding to be spent on clean energy programs over the next five years, including $ 1 billion for storage technology. energy that could serve as batteries for wind and solar power. , $ 1.5 billion for new solar technology demonstration projects, $ 2.1 billion for advanced nuclear technology, and $ 450 million for technology to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The bill would also order federal agencies to update government programs that monitor renewable energy spending.

“Some of these will be the first updates to these programs since the iPhone was first used,” said Josh Freed, energy policy analyst at Third Way, a center-left research organization. “This is vitally important because energy systems were very different 10 years ago. There were hardly any EVs on the road, very few solar panels on the roofs, Tesla did not exist.

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Not an ideal process or an ideal deal, but, well, a deal

BOULDER, Colorado – The day before Thanksgiving, Dave Query had to shut down his restaurant for good. For 26 years, the Zolo Grill was a popular restaurant in Boulder serving Southwestern fare. But the slowdown in business, he said, and the cost of complying with state and county security protocols have grown too high.

“There comes a time when you have to put a bullet in the head and bury it in the backyard,” Query said. Several other restaurants he owns are facing challenges, he said, and at this point he’s looking for all the help he and his employees can get.

“It should have happened much sooner,” Query said of the stimulus package that congressional leaders agreed to on Sunday. “But everything is better than nothing.”

The legislation would provide direct payments and unemployment assistance to millions of Americans, as well as support for small businesses, hospitals and schools. For many, this is a long overdue relief as families have been driven from their homes and workers have lost their jobs.

Neither the deal, much smaller than the first stimulus package, nor the painfully protracted process that produced it seemed ideal to those interviewed on Sunday. But, as Mr Query said, at least there was – ultimately – an agreement.

The emergence of the coronavirus vaccine has raised hopes that there is light at the end of the tunnel, allowing many to imagine life on the other side of the pandemic.

The deal is expected to provide $ 600 in stimulus payments to millions of American adults earning up to $ 75,000 and revive stale additional federal unemployment benefits to $ 300 per week for 11 weeks – half the aid level provided by the $ 2.2 trillion stimulus bill passed in March.

It would also continue and increase benefits for on-demand workers and freelancers, and it would extend federal payments for people whose regular benefits have expired.

Raquel Lodestro, a massage therapist in the South Bronx, said she worked when she could, forced to leave her 10-year-old son at home while he attended distance school. “Three hundred dollars – yes that’s a blessing and I will appreciate it,” she said of UI, “but you tell everybody that $ 600 is too much.” ? “

“The point is,” she added, “that for us even moving forward during this pandemic was a godsend, for us to be able to survive.”

The previous stimulus package was passed about nine months ago, just as the virus took hold in the United States, prompting widespread stay-at-home orders restricting movement and trade. It took months to negotiate the new one as the pandemic spread uncontrollably and people burned their savings.

“This, the pandemic and the resulting economic impact, is not a partisan issue,” said Isabel McDevitt, who founded Ready to Work, an agency in Colorado that provides employment, housing and support services. support for adults leaving homelessness. “Republicans and independents, unaffiliated people, everyone is affected. So absolutely more action was needed. “

Lisa Hahn, a stay-at-home mom of four in Forest Hills, Queens, in March launched a support group for parents of children with special needs. Many parents in her group are unable to work, she said, as their children need constant supervision and one-on-one instruction to attend the remote school.

“I think a lot of our families, especially in New York, are really struggling – I hear it, I see it,” she said, adding, “I think they should have gone through this there. more than a month ago, or more. And I really think that should have been a bigger stimulus than it is.

In New York City, many are still marked by the darkest and deadliest days of the virus, and now, due to the economic situation, the city is still drained of people and talent.

Eric Ulloa, a theater and film writer who also stars on Broadway, said he saw messages from friends and colleagues being kicked out of town – “just postponing the dream of what they wanted to do “he said to play or to write or to compose or create or direct or photograph – each of those dreams are all hanging.

For those facing the most pressing needs, the payment of $ 600 would be welcome, but many wondered how much of a difference that would make.

Financial news site Business Insider calculated that in America’s largest cities, looking at average monthly spending, money would carry a two-person household for less than two weeks. The previous stimulus law provided for payments of up to $ 1,200. A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that most of these funds were used to pay down debt or to save.

Housing advocates have been encouraged to learn that the deal could include a moratorium on evictions.

“It’s great to hear, but again, we’re just putting more band-aids on some inevitabilities,” said Joseph Zanovitch, executive director of HOPE, a homeless outreach program in Colorado. “That’s a bright spot, but it’s also like an impending cliff – how long will that actually last?”

The deal does not include direct funding for state and local governments, which concerns Alec Garnett, the president-elect of the Colorado House of Representatives. And Mr Garnett said he was enraged by the inability of Washington lawmakers to reach a deal sooner.

“The slowness with which this has evolved is exactly what the Coloradans hate about partisan politicians in Washington,” Garnett, a Democrat, said, adding that his criticisms applied to both parties. “The differences should have been put aside months ago, to help keep small businesses open, keep them employed and keep food on the table.

Kathy Valentine, a mental health support advocate in Boulder, was among those who blamed President Trump for failing to facilitate a deal. “Direction?” she asked. “There is no such word in his vocabulary.”

The economic fallout from the pandemic has strained food banks. Nederland Food Pantry, which serves the rugged mountain communities of western Boulder County and neighboring Gilpin County, serves up to 185 households a week, up from 65 at the same time last year.

The Northeastern Iowa Food Bank in Waterloo has seen a similar increase in demand. “There are a lot of people who never thought they would be in this job because everyone was working,” said Barbara Prather, CEO of the food bank. “Things were going well. Then 2020 came, then the pandemic happened. “

Don Miller, owner of Austin, Texas-based County Line barbecue restaurant chain, was unsure how he would benefit from the stimulus package. But the previous one, he said, had helped him and his business for about three months.

“Whatever the stimulus package, it’s about time,” Miller said. “We are hung up here by our nails every day. And we just need to do something. Even if it’s just crumbs, every time they give it it’s great for us.

Charlie brennan reported from Boulder, Rick rojas from Nashville and Sarah Maslin Nir from New York. David Montgomery contributed reporting from Austin, Texas.

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Video: Congress reaches deal on $ 900 billion coronavirus relief plan

new video loaded: Congress reaches deal on $ 900 billion coronavirus relief plan



Congress reaches deal on $ 900 billion coronavirus relief plan

Majority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell said on Sunday night that the stimulus package would provide $ 600 in payments to Americans – half of what the government sent to many Americans in April.

Further assistance is underway. Moments ago, in consultation with our committees, the four leaders of the Senate and House finalized a deal that would be another major bailout for the American people as our citizens continue to fight this coronavirus this season. holidays. They will not fight alone. We agreed to a package of almost $ 900 billion. It is full of targeted policies that help struggling Americans who have already waited too long for workers in hardest-hit small businesses. There will be a second targeted draw of the Paycheck Protection Program. We haven’t worked so hard to save as many jobs as possible. All these months, just to fumble the ball with the vaccinations already in progress and talking about vaccines, we can undo the success of Operation Warp Speed ​​by falling asleep at the dispense switch. This agreement will therefore provide enormous sums for the logistics that will allow our fellow citizens to benefit as quickly as possible from these vital images. Of course, millions of Americans have lost their jobs and continue to lose them through no fault of their own. This program will renew and extend a number of important additional federal unemployment benefits that have helped families stay afloat in all kinds of families in all kinds of situations. It has been a difficult time at all levels. So with this particular request, a focus on President Trump and his administration, our agreement will provide another round of direct impact payments to help households make ends meet and continue our economic recovery.

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