Congress’ Coronavirus relief package talks may clash with keeping government open

congress covid relief package

The rest of Congress has left Washington without a deal on a Coronavirus relief package. That means Congress will have no deal on a COVID relief package until at least September. Supposedly, negotiations could continue, with Congress set to return if an agreement is reached.

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However, given that no talks have occurred this week, it seems unlikely that any negotiations will be held before Congress returns from its August recess.

Congress puts Coronavirus relief package on hold

There was hope for a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks, but the lack of a deal on a relief package means there won’t be any checks. If Congress doesn’t reach an agreement on a stimulus package, there won’t be any more checks or any other support for the struggling American people.

The White House and congressional Democrats have been blaming each other for the lack of a deal. However, Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace called the disagreement “a pox on both their houses.” He said the country is in “desperate shape,” and millions of people are unemployed.

The extra $600 in weekly federal unemployment benefits has expired, and it’s unclear whether jobless Americans will get the extra $300 supposedly promised in President Donald Trump’s executive order. Money for small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program and eviction protections have run out as well.

Wallace added that he isn’t interested in who’s to blame for the lack of a deal on a coronavirus stimulus package. He’s concerned about the wellbeing of Americans who are struggling, and he blames everyone. He added that Republicans and Democrats in Congress should be able to come to an agreement on a COVID relief package that costs between the $1 billion Republicans want and the $3 billion Democrats want.

Will there be a deal on Congressional Coronavirus stimulus before October?

Now that it’s apparent that Congress will wait until at least September to reach a deal on the next COVID relief package, the next question is whether they will even be able to come to an agreement in September. CNN reports that the roadblock could push up against the Oct. 1 deadline, which is when Congress much reach a new deal to keep the government open.

Many are now concerned that not only will Washington continue to fail at providing economic relief, but it could also fail at keeping the government open at the same time. And all this could happen only weeks before a major presidential election.

No negotiations between the White House and Democratic lawmakers are scheduled. Both parties are now turning their attention to their respective political conventions instead of helping the American people.

According to CNBC, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she won’t enter negotiations again until Republicans agree to increase the price tag of the package from $1 trillion to $2 trillion, which they don’t want to do. The two sides haven’t even gotten past the debate over the price tag and looked at any of the issues they remain far apart on.

Here are the disagreements on Congress’ Coronavirus relief package

Trump attempted to offer relief to Americans through the executive orders he signed last weekend. However, it seems unlikely that those orders will stand up in court, as he doesn’t have the authority to control federal spending or make the types of orders he tried to make.

Pelosi said the Democrats and the White House are “miles apart” in the negotiations over a COVID relief package for Congress. Unemployment remains a key issue, as Democrats wanted to extend the extra $600 in weekly unemployment benefits. Republicans wanted to reduce the amount so people don’t keep getting paid more on unemployment than they did on the job.

Since Congress couldn’t reach a deal on a COVID relief package, the two sides are doing nothing even though it’s clear that something should be done. Democrats also want to set aside over $900 billion in aid for cash-strapped state and local governments, but the Trump administration described that amount as unrealistic.

Other disagreements

Democrats also want to set aside over $60 billion for food assistance, but the GOP’s Senate bill released in July only earmarked $250,000 for it. The bill passed by the Democrat-led House in May proposed $100 billion for mortgage and rent payments, but the GOP-led Senate didn’t include any funding for that provision.

The House’s bill also called for $100 billion in funding for schools as they struggle to reopen amid the pandemic. However, Pelosi increased the amount she wanted to see for schools to $300 billion on Thursday. Republicans suggested $105 billion for schools, and most of those funds were tied to reopening school buildings.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell held firm on the GOP’s refusal to increase the price tag of the COVID relief package. He said her spin is that “it is some heroic sacrifice to lower her demand from a made-up $3.5 trillion market that was never going to become law to an equally made-up $2.5 trillion marker.

“She calls this meeting in the middle?” he added. “That’s not negotiating. That’s throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.”

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