Lawmakers have announced progress on the coronavirus relief bill as of Saturday.
What We Know:
- There is political pressure to set up and restore the newly expired $600 unemployment weekly benefit and send funds to help schools in their reopening.
- Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer-(D) of New York and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi-(D) of California are anxious for an expansion of the agreement, as well as President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Although, not everyone in the Senate agrees.
- While prior talks have shown little to no progress, the administration is prepared to extend the expired $600 weekly benefit, at the minimum, for a short term; however, they are hesitant to other demands by Democrats such as aid for state and local governments, assistance to renters and homeowners, and a food stamp increase.
“This is a very different kind of negotiation, because of what is at stake. Millions of children are food insecure, millions of families are at risk of eviction, and for the nineteenth straight week, over 1 million Americans applied for unemployment insurance,” Pelosi said.
- Republicans in the Senate have been aggressive to cut back the $600 benefit, saying it must be slashed so that people don’t make more in unemployment than they would if they returned to work. But, their determination weakened as the benefit expired, and Trump shutdown their position by signaling he wants to keep the full $600 for now.
- Washington’s top power contenders agree that Congress should be willing to pass additional relief in the coming days and weeks. At most, the $600 per week, the unemployment benefit would be a new $1,200 direct payment to nearly all Americans, and hundreds of billions of dollars in other aids to states, businesses, the poor, among other components.
“We’re still a long ways apart and I don’t want to suggest that a deal is imminent because it is not,” Meadows said afterward. “There are still substantial differences, but we did make good progress.”
- This COVID-19 package will be the fifth legislative response to the pandemic and could be the last one before the November election.
Seeing as Republicans had control of the Senate since May, they had kept relief discussions on “hold” as a strategy. Since now there are high spikes of coronavirus cases, Republicans have shown greater flexibility. As always, we hope for a great outcome.