(The Center Square) – Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey stalled the COVID-19 relief deal over the weekend after he insisted on language to end emergency federal lending programs used for virus response and prevent their expansion in 2021.

Toomey and Democratic leaders struck a compromise late Sunday that ends five Federal Reserve lending programs authorized in March at the onset of the pandemic and returns $429 billion in unspent relief back into the federal budget. New programs could be established, with congressional approval, when President-elect Joe Biden’s administration takes over next month.

“Maintaining the integrity of the role of the Fed, preventing the Fed from being politicized, from being misused, from becoming an allocator of credit and America’s biggest commercial bank – that’s the most important thing,” Toomey said during a press call over the weekend.

Democrats said the provision blocked the creation of all “similar” programs in the future with language that would hamstring Biden from responding to the pandemic as needed. Toomey agreed that the initial language was “too broad” and described the compromise as “an unqualified victory for taxpayers.”

“I think the good outweighs the bad, and it is my intention at this point to vote for it,” he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Sunday.

Gov. Tom Wolf criticized Toomey, accusing him of stalling progress on the relief bill – the first since Congress authorized the CARES Act in late March – over politics.

The compromise clears the path for a vote on the $900 billion pandemic relief bill eight months in the making. The plan includes a second round of stimulus checks worth $600 for each adult and $600 per dependent; a $300 supplemental weekly unemployment benefit and $300 billion in aid for small businesses. 

Gov. Tom Wolf criticized Toomey, accusing him of stalling progress on the relief bill – the first since Congress authorized the CARES Act in late March – over politics.

“The ‘most important thing’ to Sen. Toomey isn’t helping businesses,” he said. “It isn’t getting checks to people. It isn’t helping the unemployed. The most important thing to Sen. Toomey is limiting the ability of the next administration to address the consequences of the pandemic.”

Toomey rejected the characterization of his position as an attempt to undermine the incoming administration.

“Quite contrary to what some of my Democratic colleagues have suggested, this is not at all an effort to in any way hamstring the Biden administration or weaken our economy,” he said during a press call over the weekend. “That is a ridiculous notion.”

Christen Smith follows Pennsylvania’s General Assembly for The Center Square. She is an award-winning reporter with more than a decade of experience covering state and national policy issues for niche publications and local newsrooms alike.

This piece was originally published in The Center Square. Read the original article here.

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