Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from central Kentucky, wears a protective mask when he returns to his office in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC on Thursday, December 10, 2020.
Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Few signs of progress toward a coronavirus relief deal emerged Thursday as Congress moved closer to putting millions of Americans in deeper financial danger.
They have to wait longer for Washington to find out how to help them. After the votes on Thursday, the majority leader of the House of Representatives, Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Informed the representatives that the chamber would be postponed until at least Tuesday, until an agreement on pandemic aid and state funding for the whole year had been reached.
The House move to quit for this week came when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell staff notified Congressional leadership offices that Senate Republicans had proposed a bipartisan US $ 908 billion proposal, according to NBC News – Dollars probably wouldn’t support. Politico first reported on the Kentucky Republican’s plan to put aside the plan that members of his caucus had helped create.
Congressional leaders continue to stress the importance of approving a bailout in the coming days to prevent about 12 million Americans from losing unemployment benefits and to prevent families across the country from being thrown out of their homes.
Despite numerous activities aimed at reaching an agreement, lawmakers have still not resolved disputes that left it unresponsive to a one-off health and economic crisis for months. It remains unclear what kind of package could get support from both the GOP-controlled Senate and the Democratic House.
On Thursday, the Democrats again approved the bipartisan talks. However, these discussions have still not resulted in legislation as lawmakers finalize provisions regarding state and local government facilitation and corporate immunity backed by the GOP. NBC News reported that the group agreed on Thursday afternoon how to distribute $ 160 billion in state and local funds but failed to resolve issues related to legal immunity.
Minority leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., called Thursday’s bipartisan Senate negotiations “the only real game in town” to work out a bill that could come through a divided Congress. He claimed McConnell was trying to spark these talks in favor of a plan that included only political support for Republicans.
McConnell targeted Democrats on Thursday to delay new relief. He has endorsed tighter legislation of approximately $ 500 billion that would be based on small business loans from the Paycheck Protection Program. It would not include additional unemployment benefits or federal direct payments.
McConnell this week offered to remove liability coverage and state and local aid from talks. Democrats opposed the compromise because they feared states or cities would have to fire first responders and teachers without further federal help. Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Have also turned down a $ 916 billion Trump administration offer because it did not include a federal unemployment benefit allowance.
McConnell said Thursday he hoped “our colleagues will let Congress provide more aid soon.”
“A lot of Americans just can’t afford to wait,” he said.
The Capitol Hill dispute over how much money to send to desperate Americans followed more troubling business news. Initial jobless claims rose to 853,000 last week, the highest since September. Approximately 19 million people are still receiving some form of unemployment benefit as millions of people line up at food banks across the country.
The surge in people seeking job help follows new state and city economic restraints designed to slow the spread of a virus that is killing Americans at unprecedented rates. The U.S. recorded 3,124 new Covid-19 deaths on Wednesday, the deadliest day of the pandemic in America.
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, the United States, on December 10, 2020.
Erin Scott | Reuters
Flanked on Thursday by a poster highlighting that the roughly 290,000 American deaths from Covid-19 nearly surpassed US fighting deaths in World War II, Pelosi supported the evolving bipartisan relief plan as an “emergency” bridge to the city Biden government and vaccine use.
“We can’t leave here without a law,” she told reporters to send pandemic aid and fund the government. The House has passed a week-long extension of federal spending to avoid a closure until December 18, and the Senate is expected to approve it as early as Thursday.
Legislators are hoping to buy more time to reach an agreement on a pandemic rescue plan and government funding. Pelosi reiterated that she hopes to combine both measures into one piece of legislation.
She suggested that Congress could stay longer if it doesn’t get a deal by the 18th.
“We were here after Christmas, you know,” she said.
Earlier Thursday, House minority chairman Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Told CNBC that he believed Congress could reach an agreement by next week.
“It will have been late,” he added.
Mnuchin briefed both McCarthy and McConnell of the White House’s latest relief plan before presenting it to Pelosi this week. It would include corporate liability protection as well as state and local support. The proposal would temporarily extend pandemic programs to expand unemployment insurance eligibility, which expire at the end of the month.
However, it would send Americans a one-time payment of $ 600 and not offer a state unemployment allowance. Democrats have endorsed both a $ 1,200 stimulus check and improved unemployment benefits.
The evolving bipartisan plan would increase unemployment benefits by $ 300 per week for four months. However, direct payment would not be included.
The lack of an immediate cash injection has led many progressives and some Republicans in Congress to criticize the proposal as insufficient to meet the needs of struggling Americans. Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Tabled a bill Thursday to provide for another round of $ 1,200 stimulus payments.
“Families are lining up at food banks for miles and millions could soon be evicted,” tweeted Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., Thursday. “Every package has to put money in people’s pockets.”
The proposal would also allocate around $ 300 billion for small business aid and $ 160 billion for state and local aid. It includes money for Covid-19 tests and the distribution of vaccines, schools and the transport sector, among other things.
Critics have also targeted the plan as it does not include hospitality-specific aids or an extension of paid family and sick leave related to coronavirus.
The proposal has yet to become the legal text. Due to persistent disagreements, the legislature was unable to write a bill.
Pelosi called on bipartisan negotiators Thursday not to accept McConnell’s proposal on immunity, which she called an “attack on American workers”.
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