Tuesday, 14 July, 2020

McConnell defends crafting $1 trillion stimulus plan without Democrats

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Gustavo Carr | 26 March, 2020, 16:41

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said the package needed more guardrails to avoid misuse of the $500 billion earmarked to help struggling industries.

"The past two days of intense bipartisan talks are very close to a resolution", said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who intends to hold a vote to pass the sprawling package on Monday.

But with Monday's vote deadline looming, a White House official said Republicans would move forward with legislative language even if no agreement was reached on Saturday.

Schumer's office says he has spoken several times already with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, however, and retains considerable influence as the Senate plans to work into the weekend to try to pass the measure.

"Everybody's working hard and they want to get to a solution that's the right solution, I think we're very close", Trump said at Saturday's briefing, striking a confident tone about the nation's ability to defeat the pandemic soon.

Mr. McConnell said the measure they're finalizing bill meets the broad goals he laid out days ago: "It will send direct relief to the American people, deliver historic assistance to small businesses so workers can keep getting paid, help secure our economic foundations and prevent layoffs, and surge more resources onto the front lines of our fearless healthcare professionals' fight to defend Americans and defeat the virus".

Negotiations are focused on providing direct relief to Americans, with one-time checks of $1,200, as well as ongoing payroll support and enhanced unemployment benefits for the newly out of work. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.).

"The administration has raised questions, as you know, about how it would be administered".

"I've tasked these bipartisan teams to reach an agreement by the end of the day today, midnight", McConnell said Friday. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.), the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee.

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Parents across the United Kingdom are raving about how good the program is, and how much their children enjoyed doing it. Mums uploaded photos and videos of their kids following along with Wicks, and even some dads who joined in too.

Schumer demanded a sweeping expansion of unemployment insurance that would provide furloughed and laid-off workers the same monthly pay that they had before the coronavirus crisis erupted.

Republicans and Democrats also have both criticized how Mr. McConnell's plan for cash assistance treats low-income people.

Workers who make the least money would only be eligible for $600 per adult, rather than the $1,200 available to members of the middle class. Marr also warned that allowing the Internal Revenue Service to distribute the money would be ineffective because many poor Americans don't file federal tax returns. "It's going to be certainly amply more than $1 trillion, $1.4 trillion". Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.).

Lawmakers were in intense discussions between themselves and with the White House for a deal that could inject massive funds into United States businesses and the pockets of millions laid off already as the COVID-19 virus continued to spread.

Democrats, however, pointed out the CARES Act's tax breaks for businesses which would include the deferment of employer payroll tax payment for, at the maximum, two years.

The GOP plan would also relax restrictions on telehealth, expand flexible-spending accounts to pay for certain over-the-counter drugs, and boost Medicare reimbursements to providers.

The House of Representatives has been on a scheduled recess this week, although House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been kept informed about the Senate's progress.

At the consumer level, Mr. McConnell's bill would put into federal law the commitment from insurers that coronavirus tests will be cost-free to policy holders.