Washington D.C.– Without consensus among them on a new plan to stimulate the economy, some Republican sectors, and even President Donald Trump, propose to first approve some of the measures of direct assistance to citizens, such as unemployment payments.
“I wish we could deal with unemployment more quickly than I think it’s going to take to complete all the legislation,” said Republican Senator Mitt Romney (Utah).
Before traveling to an event in Texas, President Trump said today that “pay people” measures should be worked out promptly in a plan to stimulate the economy in the face of the coronavirus emergency and to prevent housing evictions.
“In the rest we are so far away that we don’t care”Trump said, at a time when deaths from coronavirus in the United States are around 150,000.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said that President Trump “is very focused on avoiding evictions and unemployment, and if we cannot reach an agreement (by Friday), the president wants to find more time to negotiate.”
The Democratic and Republican leadership of Congress, like the White House, agree to extend the $ 600 weekly federal unemployment assistance that was delivered during the pandemic, the benefits of which are no longer received this week.
But, as the negotiations continue, they differ on the amount to be paid weekly.
House Democrats approved from May 15 to keep federal unemployment assistance at $ 600 a week until January 31, 2021. Republicans want to extend it with a reduced payment of $ 200 a week until October 5 and then until December , 70% of the person’s old income or a maximum of $ 500 weekly.
Senator Romney has suggested creating a mechanism so that the weekly payment of $ 600 is gradually reduced.
So far, speaker Nancy Pelosi has ruled out entering into negotiations to separately approve some of the measures included in the bill ratified two and a half months ago in the House of Representatives. Democrats fear that considering certain proposals first will remove urgency from Republicans to legislate a comprehensive plan.
Democrats and Republicans largely agree to send a new federal check that allows most citizens to receive $ 1,200 and, with minimal differences, to extend the Small Business Payroll Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses.
They have different views on their distribution and the amount to be allocated, but both parties propose new funds for education, coronavirus diagnostic tests, and contact tracing.
They remain far apart on issues such as immunity to five-year employers for coronavirus cases, an initiative promoted by the White House and Republicans, and around the section of the Democratic bill approved in the Lower House that proposes $ 915,000 million to assist the state and local governments, and $ 10 billion in food assistance, among other things.
Pelosi and Senate Democratic Minority Leader Charles Schumer (New York) have questioned the interest of Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky) in a deal, having said it is not subject to negotiation. immunity to employers who reopen their private or public companies.
McConnell said today on the floor that insisting on the entire Democratic bill – which would have a $ 3 trillion impact on the federal Treasury – is a “crazy ideological fantasy.”
The Republican proposal would cost close to $ 1 billion.
Schumer argued that holding Democrats accountable when Republicans are divided doesn’t make sense.
“They are proposing $ 2 billion for a new building whose location will increase the value of the Trump (Washington, DC) hotel, but nothing for state and local governments to retain teachers, firefighters, bus drivers and other public employees,” Schumer said.
The White House managed to include the allocation for the new FBI building in the Republican plan. McConnell has indicated that he opposes any matter in the legislation that is not directly related to the coronavirus.