Democrats hint willingness towards trimmed-down Covid-19 relief

04 Décembre, 2020, 03:53 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • UNITED STATES- NOVEMBER 12 Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi D-Calif. and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer D-N.Y. conduct a news conference to discuss the House passed Heroes Act and coronavirus relief legislation in the Capitol Visitor Center

"In the spirit of compromise, we believe the bipartisan framework introduced by Senators yesterday should be used as the basis for immediate bipartisan, bicameral negotiations", Schumer and Pelosi said, the Associated Press reported. "Of course, we and others will offer improvements but we believe with good faith negotiations we could very well come to an agreement".

It is the first time Pelosi, D-Calif., and Schumer, D-N.Y., have accepted any COVID-19 legislation other than the $2.2 trillion bill that passed the House of Representatives in October. Instead, the GOP senators walked the Republican leader through aspects of a bipartisan $908 billion proposal that has become a focus of the stimulus talks. "I hope Democrats will finally let us get a bipartisan outcome soon", said the Senate Republican leader. "They've gotten reasonable and I think that could help us get to a solution", he said.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., on Wednesday signaled support for the plan, noting while she would vote for the McConnell plan, the bipartisan proposal is more beneficial for West Virginia. On Tuesday, McConnell circulated a plan that barely shifted from the Republicans' original proposal, which has failed to pass twice this fall. It doesn't include Democrats' desired funding for state and local governments.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin confirmed on Wednesday that President Trump would sign McConnell's most recent proposal. He added that the White House was reviewing the new bipartisan plan.

While most lawmakers have long agreed more aid is needed, many feel more urgency now.

The proposal does not include another stimulus check, which Americans received earlier this year.

He said they were showing a new willingness to engage in good faith - a sign of progress on negotiations for the next round of stimulus package. "I'm just glad we have a bipartisan agreement here".

Pelosi and Schumer have previously pressed for a package of roughly $2.2 trillion and they reportedly offered up a $1.3 trillion plan in private on Monday.

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The proposal does not include funding for another round of $1,200 stimulus checks.

Some Democrats who weren't part of crafting the bipartisan proposal signaled support for it, including Sen.

"After the first of the year, there is likely to be a discussion about some additional package of some size next year, depending upon what the new administration wants to pursue", McConnell said.

"We met the needs of the emergency that we have".

The amount is also more likely to receive support from the Republican lawmakers since it is nearly near the amount they offered under the skinny bill. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) also called it "the basis for getting something done before the end of the year" on the Senate floor late Tuesday. It would also make business meals and entertainment expenses 100% tax deductible and provide a liability shield for businesses against coronavirus-related lawsuits, a provision that Democrats have rejected.

The $908 billion package includes $160 billion for state and local governments and would create a $300-per-week unemployment benefit for 18 weeks, as well as $45 billion in bailout money for transit systems and airlines, $82 billion for schools and universities, and $28 billion to reestablish the paycheck protection program (PPP).

During a closed-door meeting in his office with four key GOP negotiators, McConnell didn't tip his hand about how high he is willing to go and what elements of the proposal he's willing to embrace. Some Republicans questioned what a new GOP proposal could accomplish, without Democratic support. Bill Cassidy and Susan Collins. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R., Ala.) said Wednesday he was concerned the bill might not be ready in time, forcing lawmakers to pass a short-term extension to give them time to wrap up their work.

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