Congress’ Last-Ditch Talks On Coronavirus Stimulus Fail

Democrats and Republicans remain at odds over everything from unemployment benefits to financial aid for schools to cash injections for states’ coffers.

Congress' last-ditch Talks On Coronavirus Stimulus Fail
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The last-ditch talks in the US congress to forge a new coronavirus stimulus package for the American economy ravaged by the pandemic have collapsed in a stalemate on Friday.

Republicans and Democrats remained at odds over everything from financial aid for schools and unemployment benefits to cash injections for states’ coffers.

The current US unemployment rate stands at a staggering 10.32 percent, which is higher than any level during the 2008 financial crisis. Meanwhile, the federal moratorium on evictions and jobless benefits have expired.

Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of House of Representatives on Friday held a meeting with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff in her Capitol Hill office. While talking to a news conference, the most powerful elected Democrat said that she was ready to offer a compromise.

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She added “we will go down one trillion and you go up one trillion’” and said that the politicians have a moral responsibility to find a common ground on the issue. The Democrat-controlled chamber passed a stimulus package back in May, but it was rejected by President Trump and his fellow Republicans who hold sway in Senate.

On Friday, as Mnuchin entered Pelosi’s office he said that her offer was a “non-starter”. Republican politicians want stimulus package closer to 1 trillion and want any deal to include legal protections for employers against any pandemic-related health claims from workers.

Moreover, they are also pushing to end the $600 unemployment benefits, which expired in July, and demand far less aid to local authorities than demanded by Democrats. On Friday, Trump also blamed the Democrats for the impasse in the package.

Trump said that Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi would continue to stick to radical-left policies that have nothing to do with the “Chinese” virus. He added that if Democrats continue to delay this package, then he would use his powers as a president to get American people the relief they deserve.

President said that he might seek to defer unemployment benefits, payroll tax, and defer student loan interest until the end of this year. Earlier, the White House has maintained that the president will take a unilateral action through executive order. However, it is still under what he would do as Congress controls federal spending.

In July, the unemployment rate continued to fall in the US, but it was much lower than May and June, denting hopes for an economic revival. For the past two weeks, the negotiations have been going on as the coronavirus death toll in the country passes 160,000.

Meanwhile, the US remains the epicenter of the pandemic outbreak as it has more coronavirus cases by volume than any other country. As of Friday, it has recorded more than 4.9 million confirmed cases of coronavirus, and throughout summer, its infection rate has been rising continuously.

Although many Republican politicians do not support spending in relief packages anymore, some have categorically said that they would oppose any new stimulus package.

 

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