Top Democrats are refusing to settle for a coronavirus relief bill less than $2.2 trillion, further separating themselves from Republicans’ desires for a targeted package.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke to reporters on Thursday, November 11, about the future of stimulus negotiations. Relief talks have remained at an impasse for months over the overall price tag of the next bill. Democrats are seeking substantial state and local government funding, while Republicans are pushing for employer liability shields, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Pelosi said during the briefing that she will continue to fight for a larger package. She slammed President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans for avoiding “taking responsibility” for the health and economic downturns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Every kind of avoidance of taking responsibility has been witnessed,” she told reporters.
Schumer added that Democrats would block any legislation resembling the GOP’s earlier $500 billion proposal for small businesses. He described the bill as “emaciated” and a “nonstarter.”
Here’s what you need to know:
McConnell Says the New Package Should Resemble the $500 Billion Proposal
On Thursday, November 12, McConnell also expressed his opposition to Democrats’ stimulus desires.
The Senate majority leader claimed that the next package should look like Senate Republicans’ previous $500 billion proposal — which was blocked by Senate Democrats before the election, according to CNBC.
“I gather [Pelosi] and the Democratic leader in the Senate still are looking at something dramatically larger,” McConnell told reporters, the outlet said. “That’s not a place I think we’re willing to go. But I do think there needs to be another package.”
“Hopefully we can get past the impasse we’ve had now for four or five months and get serious about doing something that’s appropriate.”
McConnell announced on October 17 that a standalone vote for additional Paycheck Protection Program funds, which offer loans to small businesses struggling to stay open during the pandemic, would take place on Tuesday, October 20. According to USA Today, the vote was “a mostly symbolic vote on the reauthorization” of the program because Democrats “oppose standalone bills on the issue.”
Democrats Want to Use the HEROES Act as a Blueprint for the Next Package
Schumer and Pelosi made it clear on Thursday, November 12, that they believe the previous Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act passed by House Democrats in May should serve as the blueprint for the next stimulus package.
“The Heroes Act should be the starting point, not an emaciated bill that prioritizes protections for corporations and considers the needs of American families as an afterthought,” Schumer told reporters during the joint briefing.
The House first passed a $3.4 trillion version in May, followed by a revised $2.2 trillion proposal in October.
The trimmed-down HEROES Act called for $436 billion in emergency aid for state and local governments; $225 billion for schools and child care; extended $600 federal unemployment payments through January; $75 billion for testing and other health care efforts and funding for the United States Postal Service and its election efforts.
It also sought to funnel $25 billion to avert thousands of potential airline layoffs, a measure backed by President Donald Trump, as well as another round of direct stimulus checks to the millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet.
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