CDC/ James Gathany

Conservative activists and disputes over federal legislators’ roles in COVID-19 relief have delayed negotiations for a new coronavirus relief bill for months, but a new compromise that excludes direct funding for state and local governments may push lawmakers to action.

Meanwhile, closer to home, South Carolina health officials with the Department of Health and Environmental Control reported 3,648 new cases of the coronavirus and 28 deaths.

As case numbers continue to climb and local governments weigh options for further restrictions to slow the spread, government-funded assistance is moving higher up on the priority list for many residents. But, Republicans have touted such aid as blue state “bailouts,” making it difficult to get bills moving through the Senate.

“States and cities are already facing large, large budget shortfalls this year,” President-elect Joe Biden said this month. “They’ve already laid off more than a million workers. Even more teachers, firefighters, cops will lose their jobs unless federal government steps up now.”