Negotiations over a $900 billion coronavirus relief bill are running into 11…

Negotiations over a $900 billion coronavirus relief bill are running into 11th-hour snags, threatening to push Congress into a rare weekend session. 
Lawmakers had hoped to clinch a sweeping deal, which would also fund the government through Oct. 1, on Wednesday after the top four congressional leaders signaled that they were closing in on an agreement after months of stalemate. 
But instead lawmakers and staff warned that while they still thought they would get the agreement the final stages of the talks are moving slowly as they continue to haggle over the details and field requests for changes. 
Its still a ways off, I think. Theyve still got some things theyre negotiating. …Its been a slow roll so far, said Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneOvernight Defense: Military reports second active-duty death due to COVID-19 | Pentagon, State Department among agencies hit by cyberattackPentagon, State Department among agencies hacked: reportMcConnell urges GOP senators not to object to Electoral College voteMORE (R-S.D.), the No. 2 Republican in the upper chamber, after he left the Capitol following the Senates final votes of the day. 
Adding to the difficulty, the package being negotiated by leadership includes two separate parts: A roughly $900 billion deal on long-stalled coronavirus relief and a separate $1.4 trillion deal to fund the government. 
Because they are hitched together, it’s thought that leadership is unlikely to announce a deal on one part, without also simultaneously announcing an agreement on the other. It also means Congress has to pass the sweeping legislation or another continuing resolution (CR) by the end of Friday in order to prevent a government shutdown.
And both are facing last-minute wrinkles that complicate the path for quickly announcing a mammoth, sweeping agreement that would wrap up Congresss work for the year.  
Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntMcConnell urges GOP senators not to object to Electoral College voteSenate chaplain in prayer: ‘We respect the conclusions of the Electoral College’Putin congratulates Biden on election winMORE (R-Mo.), the No. 4 GOP senator, pointed to a myriad of moving parts, including lawmakers trying to hitch their legislative pet projects on the final moving train of the year, that are throwing a curveball into the timing of an agreement.  
Were close enough that these could close pretty quickly but they might not, he said. Youve got the omni, youve got COVID and then youve got all these little extraneous pieces. 
A GOP aide, asked about the chances of a deal in principle on Wednesday night, said they doubt it. 
The inability to clinch a deal by early Wednesday evening comes after leadership started off feeling optimistic about their chances, with both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCongress closes in on COVID-19 relief, funding dealBipartisan senators urge surprise billing deal’s inclusion in year-end packageDemocratic leaders under pressure to agree to slimmed-down COVID-19 relief dealMORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBipartisan senators urge surprise billing deal’s inclusion in year-end packageProgressives ramp up calls for increased unemployment insurance, direct payments Lawmakers grapple with implementing COVID-19 vaccine on Capitol HillMORE (D-N.Y.) sounding upbeat during their daily floor comments. 
We made major headway toward hammering out a targeted pandemic relief package that would be able to pass both chambers with bipartisan majorities, McConnell said from the floor.  
Schumer added to reporters that were feeling pretty good.  
I hope we can reach an agreement today, he said. 
A GOP senator still appeared bullish on Wednesday afternoon that leadership could at least get a deal in principle by Wednesday night, saying that by late tonight they should have a feel and concepts. 
But as Wednesday wore on, lawmakers increasingly acknowledged they might miss the quickly-approaching deadline.
McConnell warned GOP senators during a caucus call on Wednesday to prepare to be in session for the weekend as Congress races to wrap up its work for the year.  
And House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerRep. Calvert says he tested positive for COVID-19Overnight Defense: US sanctions NATO ally Turkey over Russian defense system | Veterans groups, top Democrats call for Wilkie’s resignation | Gingrich, other Trump loyalists named to Pentagon boardThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Mastercard – Today: Vaccine distribution starts, Electoral College meets.MORE (D-Md.) floated that Congress could need to pass a days-long CR to prevent a short shutdown as negotiations drag on. 
I want to get done by Friday night, but if we don’t get done by Friday night, I don’t want to shut down government. And if we need three or four more days, we’re going to take as much time as is necessary to fund the government and as well as [bring] relief to those who have been savaged by COVID-19, Hoyer told reporters. 
Leadership is wading through a myriad of policy and political fights as they try to wrap up an agreement. 
GOP concerns over Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding flared Wednesday over worries that Democrats could be using the money to try to find a backdoor to providing more state and local funding, something that draws fierce pushback from some Republicans. 
I think theyre looking for places to put all the money they wanted in state and local in other buckets. In other words to accomplish their original goal but to make it look a little different, said Sen. John CornynJohn CornynBipartisan senators urge surprise billing deal’s inclusion in year-end packageCruz, Texas lawmakers pitch San Antonio for Space Command headquartersCongressional leaders to meet on government funding, coronavirus relief as deadline loomsMORE (R-Texas).  
Asked if he thought Democrats were trying to use FEMA funds to get more money to state and local governments, Cornyn added: Sounds to thats what theyre trying to do. 
Thune warned that if Republicans view the fund as a backdoor for state and local money, that would draw opposition from the caucus. But a GOP senator defended the money saying that it had to be used for disasters and could not go to unrelated issues, which was a key point of concern for Republicans. 
Theres also tensions around the negotiations on a second round of stimulus check and how to handle the beefed up unemployment insurance.  
Negotiators were looking at reducing the length of the unemployment to help pay for the stimulus checks, which Thune estimated would be around $600 to $700. Whether the checks would have the same $75,000 income cap like a massive March bill was still under discussion.  
Progressives are pushing for more robust stimulus checks. 
Right now we’re going to do our best to get the $1,200, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersProgressives rally around Turner’s House bidDemocratic leaders under pressure to agree to slimmed-down COVID-19 relief dealProgressives ramp up calls for increased unemployment insurance, direct payments MORE (I-Vt.) told reporters asked if he would drop an objection to moving the agreement quickly once its finalized.  
Schumer declined to comment on Sanders except saying that they have been in touch. But there are concerns that beefing up the checks could result in deeper cuts to unemployment benefits.  
That was a compromise. Thats why I don’t want to have to do a second compromise at the expense of the people who are suffering the most. These checks will help a lot of people who need it, and it will help some people who don’t need it. … I’m willing to take that risk as long as they put a good income level as a cutoff point, said Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinDemocratic leaders under pressure to agree to slimmed-down COVID-19 relief dealMcConnell congratulates Biden on White House winBipartisan group splitting 8 billion coronavirus proposal into two billsMORE (D-Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat, asked if he could support $300 for unemployment. 
Durbin added that the lack of state and local funds was heartbreaking for his state and really hurts.  
Meanwhile, Sen. Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoMcConnell in tough position as House eyes earmark returnMnuchin to put 5B in COVID-19 relief funds beyond successor’s reachDemocrats accuse Mnuchin of sabotaging economy in dispute with FedMORE (R-Idaho) said they were still working out vouchers for landlords. And Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioCNN’s Harwood: Republicans would ‘go smack their moms in the face’ if Trump ordered them to Lara Trump leading Republicans in 2022 North Carolina Senate pollThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – So many questions about COVID-19 vaccinesMORE (R-Fla.) and Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinHow Congress can kickstart COVID herd immunityDurbin to become top Democrat on Judiciary panel, keep No. 2 spotSenate Democrats to vote on leadership rules amid power struggleMORE (D-Md.) indicated that they were still some small business language that wasnt finalized. 
It hasnt gelled quite yet, Cardin said. The number is a little squishy. 
The myriad of moving parts is raising skepticism that Congress will be able to get a deal together in time to meet the timeline.  
If everybody could come together now in the next six to eight hours, we could maybe make Friday, said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyThis week: Congress braces for chaotic finishWindow quickly closing for big coronavirus dealCongress ‘close’ to massive government funding dealMORE (R-Ala.). Will it happen probably not, but I wish it would.