- Democratic leaders have not received Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for two weeks.
- The rescue package proposed by the Republicans will not send a second stimulus check to most Americans.
- After House Democrats passed a $2.2 trillion proposal last month, Speaker Pelosi continues to push for a large-scale package.
Amid a surge of new coronavirus cases across the United States, and new public health restrictions threatening businesses and jobs, Congress’ passing of a new round of anti-pandemic relief bills is still far away. Republicans and Democrats have not made any concessions.
On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had not received Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for two weeks.
Democrats have been pushing for a stimulus package of at least $ 2.2 trillion, while Republicans hope to introduce a bill of about $500 billion.
Sen. Schumer said, “if Leader McConnell and our Republican colleagues want to sit down and negotiate a bipartisan solution, with a bipartisan process, Democrats are ready and willing and able to do so,”
Both Sen. McConnell and Speaker Pelosi have previously expressed their hope that legislation will be passed this year, but neither party has shown willingness to yield.
Sen. McConnell has insisted in recent days that the pace of economic recovery means that Congress only needs to pass a targeted, small-scale stimulus plan.
On Tuesday, he stated that the Republicans “want to pass more anti-epidemic stimulus measures,” but condemned Democrats for blocking the bill that the Republicans tried to pass in recent weeks.
“Instead of working to pull our country back together, so we can fight our common enemy COVID, the Republican majority is busy spreading conspiracy theories, denying reality, poisoning the well of our democracy,” Sen. Schumer said on Monday.
“The country deserves a bill that meets the needs of the American people,” he said in Senate floor remarks. “We should be doing all that is necessary.”
The rescue package proposed by the Republicans will include a weekly increase of $300 in unemployment benefits, more loans for the paycheck protection program for small businesses, and protection of corporate responsibility. The plan will not send a second stimulus check to most Americans.
After House Democrats passed a $2.2 trillion proposal last month, Speaker Pelosi continues to push for a large-scale package.
The bill passed by the House of Representatives would restore the $600 weekly supplementary unemployment benefits that expired earlier this year, provide individuals with an additional $1,200 stimulus check, provide state and local governments with more than $400 billion in aid funds, and authorize changes.
“We have her back in handling this,” President-Elect Joe Biden’s Chief of Staff-designate Ron Klain said in a television interview on Sunday on NBC.
“Our message to Speaker Pelosi is: ‘Keep doing what you’re doing to the Republicans. Let’s get this done.’ I mean, this could be a first example of bipartisan action post the election,” Klain said
State and local governments have begun to restore lockdown measures to slow the speed of the virus infection. Even so, some policymakers did not act as quickly as public health officials had hoped, as they tried to balance concerns about business closures and workers falling into poverty without federal assistance.
The recent encouraging data from the new coronavirus vaccine trial has ignited hope for an early escape from the shadow of the epidemic. Even so, most Americans will not get the vaccine until at least mid-2021.
“That’s expensive and it’s important to make sure the resources are there for that,” Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) told CNBC on Tuesday.