Congress is struggling to make the deal easier

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will attend a press conference with Republican leaders at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, on December 8, 2020.

Kevin Dietsch | Reuters

Congress once again hit a wall to send help to Americans during a coronavirus epidemic that killed thousands of people a week and waited millions in food queues.

After trying for days to reach an agreement, lawmakers no longer resolved a number of issues that hindered such an agreement on Wednesday afternoon. A congress that has been unable to send aid to desperate people for months must now resolve disputes quickly to prevent millions of people from losing their unemployment insurance or housing.

Democratic leaders called bipartisan negotiations toward a $ 908 billion aid bill the best chance to come up with a plan through a split congress. Legislators have not yet finalized the legislation due to disagreements over the legal exemption of businesses and the easing of state and local governments.

The best Republicans have accused their colleagues of refusing to reach an agreement. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y. rejected the Trump administration’s $ 916 billion offer because it includes a one-time $ 600 direct payment but does not include a federal unemployment insurance supplement. The bipartisan package includes $ 300 a week in unemployment benefits.

Pelosi and Schumer also withdrew Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s proposal to end his claim for business and university immunity against corona virus lawsuits if Democrats withdraw their call for state and local aid. Democrats and many Republicans called federal support necessary to prevent money-scarce governments from reducing the work of first responders and teachers.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will talk to reporters at a press conference about the results of the U.S. 2020 presidential election and the epidemic of persistent coronavirus disease (COVID-19). at the USCapitol in Washington, DC, on November 12, 2020.

Hannah Mackay | Reuters

As of Wednesday, it was unclear what type of plans the House of Democrats and the GOP-controlled Senate could receive. Congress is under pressure: about 12 million people could lose their unemployment benefits the day after Christmas, and the federal eviction moratorium expires at the end of the year.

Speaking on the Senate floor on Wednesday, McConnell has repeatedly argued that democratic leaders have refused to close the deal for political reasons. Moreover, Finance Minister Steven Mnuchin called their response to Tuesday’s relief offer “bizarre” and “schizophrenic.”

“More diversion, more delay and more suffering for innocent Americans,” he said of Democrats who rejected the White House proposal.

A spokesman for Pelosi did not respond immediately to a request to comment on McConnell’s comments.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Schumer once again placed his weight behind bipartisan talks between serial members. He criticized the lack of unemployment benefits in the Trump administration’s offer compared to what the evolving bill contains.

“Reducing unemployment to the extent he has … will not get much support from any Democrat,” Schumer said.

Congress is at a standstill as new infections a day move around 200,000 a day and cases overwhelm hospitals. The health emergency has forced several governments to implement economic restrictions on the already fragile labor market.

Legislators plan to vote in the coming days to extend public funding by one week until December 18 to buy more time to conclude broader spending and corona virus clearance agreements. Federal funding will end on Saturday if Congress does not pass legislation.

Congress leaders aim to resolve both issues before heading home for the holidays.

“How can we go home for Christmas with a good conscience, knowing that one day after Christmas, 12 million Americans will see their unemployment insurance disappear?” asked Senator Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat and party number two senator, on Wednesday.

The bipartisan group released a more detailed outline of its proposal on Wednesday. That would include $ 300 billion to support small businesses and $ 160 billion in state and local aid. It would also extend unemployment insurance expansion measures for four months and restore federal unemployment benefits to $ 300 a week.

The plan would include billions in state and local support to test Covid-19, seek contact and distribute vaccines, and support schools and the transportation sector. It will extend the federal student loan patience, which expires at the end of January, until April. The measure would also provide $ 25 billion in rental support and maintain the moratorium on eviction until January.

The outline published on Wednesday does not include specifics on how the plan handles liability protection and state and local support. Legislators are said to seek to provide further details on these provisions as early as Wednesday.

Even though it contains everything, the proposal would not send $ 1,200 in direct payments to most Americans. More and more Democrats are questioning how much the plan would really help individuals and families without further incentive scrutiny.

Even Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri has called on President Donald Trump to veto the bill without direct payments. Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Acting. And other Senate progressors have indicated they would oppose legislation that doesn’t send more money into Americans ’bank accounts.

“Here in Washington, when we go to war, there is an infinite amount of money,” Sanders told MSNBC on Wednesday. “Tax breaks for billionaires? Infinite amounts of money. Corporate prosperity? Infinite amounts of money.”

“When kids are hungry in America today, we suddenly don’t have enough money? That’s bullshit. That’s wrong,” he added.

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