Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ted Cruz traded with traders whose party is responsible for a high-stakes stalemate over another coronavirus aid package after Congress took a week-long Thanksgiving break from Washington and failed to reach an agreement.
“People across the country are starving, COVID is starting to explode, and Mitch McConnell fired the senate last week,” Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y., tweeted Monday. “I don’t know how these people can sleep at night. Really not.”
Returning to the progressive ring of fire, Cruz accused Democrats of repeatedly blocking the restrained stimulus proposal, which was supported by a majority of Senate Republicans.
– Why is your party giving $ 500 billion in COVID relief? the Texas Republican asked. “And Joe Biden makes them happy. If I think blocking the relief will somehow help the Dems win Georgia.”
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Ocasio-Cortez, along with other House Democrats, had previously passed a $ 3.4 trillion Heroes Act in May and an updated $ 2.2 trillion-backed law in October.
“The house has no filibusters, @tedcruz,” he pushed back. “We’ve handed over to the Senate several COVID aid packages that include not only $ 500 billion, but also helping real people as a priority, as opposed to the Wall St rescue that the GOP is trying to deliver as ‘relief.’ It’s a nice attempt.”
Senate Democrats have more than once voted on a reduced GOP proposal, most recently in late October. The bill, less than a third of the $ 2.2 trillion invented by democratic leaders, included increased federal unemployment benefits, another round of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, a key rescue program for small businesses, money for schools and protection of responsibility. businesses.
12 million Americans face losing unemployment benefits after Christmas
Cruz replied, “It seems the AOC doesn’t know there are Democrats in the Senate. Or that Joe Biden (also Dem) is publicly calling on the Dems Senate to continue continuing COVID mitigation because he thinks it will help them. Winning Georgia. “
For months, Congress has been fighting for an agreement on another round of emergency aid for families and businesses that continue to withdraw from the pandemic, after passing the $ 2.2 trillion CARES law in March. Ocasio-Cortez was one of the few lawmakers to vote against bipartisan legislation that he said skipped key democratic priorities. Cruz voted in favor of the bill.
Although members of both parties broadly support the adoption of a new coronavirus eradication law, they vehemently disagree on its magnitude and scope. With only eight legislative days left on their calendars, it is increasingly unlikely that lawmakers will be able to reach an agreement before the end of the year.
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Key policy differences, including funding for a virus testing plan, support for state and local governments, and tax cuts for low- and middle-income families, have embarrassed lawmakers since May and are no less challenging in the wake of 2020. choice.
But the stalemate comes at a dangerous time for the U.S. economy: About 12 million Americans will be left without income the day after Christmas after two federal unemployment benefits programs set up in March expire, a study published by the nonprofit Century Foundation found. think tank.
Pandemic unemployment benefits, a program to create unemployment benefits for concertmakers and those not generally entitled to benefits, and pandemic emergency unemployment benefits that extend state unemployment benefits for an additional 13 weeks will both expire at the end of the year.
Another program, topping up unemployment benefits with $ 600 a week, ended in July.
Job losses remain high, and as COVID-19 cases increase across the country, prompting state and local governments to implement new closure measures, economists are increasingly warning of a bleak winter.
“There hasn’t been a big need here for a long, long time,” Federal Reserve President Jerome Powell said last week of his latest call to Congress and the White House on another stimulus package.