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Minnesota lawmakers close on COVID-19 relief deal for businesses

Work remains on passing a deal to help workers.

It appears the Minnesota Legislature could be nearing a deal on a COVID-19 relief package to help businesses struggling amid the latest state-ordered shutdown, but Democrats and Republicans haven't yet agreed on a plan to help workers. 

State lawmakers have been discussing a relief bill for weeks, and Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday called for a special session (the seventh of the year), which will start Monday. The governor's hope is that Democrats and Republicans will have come to an agreement on a relief bill and pass it at that point. 

The governor and House Republicans previously shared what they'd like to see included in a relief package, with Walz eyeing a package worth $300-$600 million

Minnesota Senate Republicans on Thursday released a proposal with $216 million in financial relief to impacted businesses, including restaurants, bars and gyms, among others. 

It's being reported that there is agreement on business support at least, with the relief package seemingly getting the backing of House Democrats and Gov. Tim Walz.

However, the bill does not explicitly benefit workers who've been out of a job and may see their unemployment benefits end at the end of the month, which is something Democrats want to see addressed.

There's still no deal in place to help workers. Rep. Tim Mahoney, DFL-St. Paul, said during the House Ways and Means Committee informational hearing on COVID-19 relief on Thursday, the DFL and GOP still haven't agreed on an extension for unemployment, according to FOX 9's Theo Keith

The Democrat-controlled House is pushing for a 13-week extension of unemployment, while the Republican-controlled Senate wants it capped at $200 million, which is about a five-week extension. 

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