Stimulus check: what is Pelosi proposing and what is McConnell putting forward in the Senate?
The Republican-led Senate returned from recess on Tuesday, while the Democratic-led House of Representatives plans to hold votes on bills starting the following week.
The U.S. Congress faces a tight deadline to avoid a government shutdown as lawmakers return to Washington, complicated by bitter conflicts between Republicans and Democrats over the next package of coronavirus aid.
The Republican-led Senate returned to DC on Tuesday, while the Democratic-led House of Representatives plans to hold votes on bills starting the following week.
With congressional elections on Nov. 3, both chambers have very few days left to finish work as lawmakers plan to campaign in their home states for much of October.
The federal fiscal year ends on Sept. 30, so they will have to hurry to reach a deal on legislation funding government programs and averting a partial shutdown that could be especially damaging to lawmakers facing re-election in November.
A second Republican attempt to present an amended version of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act signed into law earlier in the year during the initial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States met with a knock-back from leading Democrat negotiators Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer on Tuesday.
House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Chuck Schumer wasted little time in describing the bill as containing several “poison pills” that the Democrats will not accept. In a joint statement, the chief Democratic negotiators accused the Republicans of doing too little, too late after months of increasingly barbed exchanges across the floors of Congress with a presidential election looming in November.
“As they scramble to make up for this historic mistake, Senate Republicans appear dead-set on another bill which doesn't come close to addressing the problems and is headed nowhere,” Pelosi and Schumer stated.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnnell said on Tuesday the Republican-led U.S. Senate aims to vote this week on a drastically scaled-back Republican coronavirus aid bill, despite opposition from Democrats who are needed for any measure to be enacted into law.
It’s been 116 days since the House passed the Heroes Act and the Senate GOP are finally waking up to the damage their decision to “take a pause” has caused in communities nationwide. Republicans must stop blocking efforts to pass the policies included in the #HeroesAct into law. pic.twitter.com/5e4N8bPtM2— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) September 8, 2020
The bill, which some senior Republican aides described as a $300 billion package that was reduced from the $1 trillion McConnell advocated in July, would face a vote on Thursday.
The Republican bill
Republicans presented a new slimmed-down coronavirus relief bill on Tuesday, with Mitch McConnell stating the new “targeted” bill would “focus on some of the very most urgent health care, education, and economic issues.”
McConnell said the new package could be put to vote as early as Thursday, as Congress scramble to pass a bill before the federal budget deadline on 31 September.
According to Fox News, the new package has allocated $500 billion to federal aid and includes an extra $300-per-week in unemployment benefits through 27 December, which is $300 less than the $600 unemployment benefits boost that was passed under the previous CARES Act and expired at the end of July.
A second round of Paycheck Protection Program funds to small businesses worth $258 billion, and $105 billion for schools and colleges have also been included in the new Republican bill. The new bill, however, does not include provisions for a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks.
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