The bipartisan help legislation is printed
Representative Josh Gottheimer, a Democrat from downtown New Jersey, speaks during a press conference on the Solvers Caucus issue outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, the United States, on Thursday, December 3, 2020.
Stefani Reynolds | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Congress is under more pressure this week than ever to pass another coronavirus relief law.
The ability of lawmakers to get out of a longstanding traffic jam and send more aid will play a big role in how much the crisis affects the health and wallets of Americans.
Congress leaders want to approve both the pandemic aid and a spending package before state funds expire on Saturday. Republicans and Democrats on both fronts only have a few days left before millions are displaced or unemployment benefits are lost.
A non-partisan group is hoping to drive the movement towards legislation that can get through the GOP-controlled Senate and democratically held house. Legislators in both chambers plan to release a $ 908 billion rescue bill on Monday.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a New Jersey Democrat and co-chair of the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus that started the deal, hoped the bill would help shape a proposal that Congress can pass this week.
“It doesn’t have to be every single word we hand over [congressional leaders] … But this is a clear roadmap for them, “he told CNBC on Monday morning.
Members of both parties have emphasized the need to send relief before going home on vacation. What they haven’t agreed to since April is exactly what the healthcare system and economy need until a disease that kills thousands of Americans every week becomes widespread.
Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., And Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke about spending and incentives for about 30 minutes Sunday. The couple plans to speak again on Monday, according to Drew Hammill, the Pelosi spokesman.
The congress faces the challenge of resolving several sticking points before Friday.
The parties failed to resolve disputes over proposals to give businesses immunity from coronavirus-related lawsuits and to send aid to financially troubled state and local governments. Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., And Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Have threatened to delay submitting an invoice if it does not include further direct payment to Americans. The bipartisan proposal does not include a second check for $ 1,200.
Republicans have pushed for an immunity plan. While they argue that the provision would save small businesses from frivolous lawsuits, Democrats say it would put workers at risk who are placed in dangerous positions by their employers.
Meanwhile, Democrats and many Republicans have been pushing for state and local funding to keep first-aid jobs and streamline the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines Americans received on Monday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump have claimed the funds will save poorly managed states. Bipartisan governors have called for at least $ 500 billion more for state and local aid.
The Senate bipartisan group is underscoring the disagreement and plans to introduce two separate bills on Monday, Problem Solvers Caucus co-chair Rep. Tom Reed, RN.Y., told CNBC. One of these includes legislator immunity and proposals for state and local aid. The other contains everything else.
“We can compromise on liability as well as state and local measures,” Reed said.
McConnell has urged Congress to pass a package without both provisions and then deal with it in another bill after President-elect Joe Biden took office on Jan. 20. The Democrats have insisted on borrowing new money now for state and local governments.
“The spokesman believes that at a time when the virus is on the rise, the need for state and local funding is even more important, especially given the responsibility of states for the distribution and administration of the vaccine,” Pelosi spokesman Hammill tweeted after calling the Democrats with Mnuchin.
“Healthcare workers and first responders risk their lives to save lives and risk losing their jobs without government and local support,” he continued.
Democrats have backed the $ 908 billion plan as the framework for a final deal. The proposal provides around $ 300 billion in support to small businesses as independent businesses struggle to survive. It would send $ 160 billion in state and local aid.
The proposal would extend the provisions on the extension of unemployment insurance, which is due to expire the day after Christmas. If these expire, around 12 million people would lose unemployment benefits. The plan provides a weekly unemployment benefit supplement of $ 300 per week.
It would temporarily extend an eviction moratorium and support the rent payment. The move would also invest $ 6 billion in vaccine distribution. It would also add funding for schools and the transport sector.
However, another direct payment would not be included. Many progressives in Congress have argued that without more direct financial relief, the plan would not provide enough help to people struggling to afford food and rent.
Sanders and Hawley on Friday did not pursue any threat to delay the passage of a government funded measure for another week. However, Sanders warned that if Congress hadn’t agreed to send another direct payment, he would do so this Friday.
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