House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D – CA) and the Democrats have walked off the negotiation table. She said that coronavirus relief talks are dead unless the GOP agrees to a $2 trillion budget. In her weekly news conference, Pelosi said she doesn't know when talks will resume. She said: “I don’t know when they come with $2 trillion. When they're ready to do that, we'll sit down.” Asked why she thinks the GOP won't budge, she said she mistook them for “someone who gave a damn.”
Pelosi: No $2 Trillion Budget, No Coronavirus Relief Talks
The deadlock in the latest coronavirus relief package stems from the budget. Democrats want a $3.4 trillion package, while Republicans preferred a $1 trillion cap. Pelosi offered to decrease their proposal to $2T if the GOP would raise their budget to the same amount.
Talks further broke down between more disagreements in other areas. Both sides have not agreed on the amount for the second round of stimulus checks for Americans. The matter of unemployment aid remains unresolved. Equally open-ended were stated calls for more funds, as well as budgets for reopening schools.
White House Firm
The White House is firm in the $1 trillion camps. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin called the $2 trillion price tag “a non-starter.” He said that the additional $1 trillion for state and local governments is absurd. He added that states and cities already have plenty of cash. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow remarked talks are at a “stalemate.” He said that “the Speaker wants a $2 trillion commitment from us. We're not going to give it. Kudlow added that Democrats have “too many tasks on their side that…don't have anything to do with COVID…”
By Thursday, the Senate adjourned with no progress in the talks. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) kept the chamber in session this week, despite the fact the Senate was already in recess. This week's session was a last-ditch effort to get an agreement. Without any fresh developments, Senators proceeded with their recess. They followed House members who already left town and aren't expected to return until Sept. 14.
McConnell accused Democrats of negotiating in bad faith. He noted that Democrats hold an agreement “hostage” while they pretend to negotiate. The senator warned that “voters are watching,” and the country knows what he's talking about. “I’m talking about the absurd issues which the Democrats have turned into sticking points,” he said.
Without any deals, President Donald Trump's executive orders appear as the only action. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said that only Trump's orders would be available by September. He said that “this is all you’re going to see until Congress gets back into session after Labor Day.” Trump issued a series of orders earlier this week aimed to provide Americans with relief. These include the resumption of the unemployment insurance, which expired last July 31. Reduced from $600 to $400, the financial aid would be borne by both federal and state governments 75%-25%. The President also ordered the temporary suspension of the payroll tax. Moratoriums were also requested for student loan payments and evictions from rented homes.
The orders will face some legal challenges when implemented. Congress controls the purse for any new projects and approves any budget diversions. If ever, the President will shrug his shoulders and say that at least he did something. He is almost daring opponents to stop his orders and deprive Americans of help. Trump remarked: “If we get sued, it's [from] somebody that doesn't want people to get money. And that's not going to be a very popular thing.”
With time running out for a new deal, Americans are getting angrier by the minute. Coronavirus outbreaks are still happening, but promised relief packages are nowhere in sight. Both parties seem OK to suspend talks out of their principles. But it's American folk who suffer in the meantime.
In the end, President Trump may get the last laugh out of this. His orders may have some legal issues, but with Congress acting like brats, his plan may be the only relief on the table. The more Dems and Republicans butt heads over the budget, the more popular Trump's orders will be. Come November, you'll be hearing a lot of people saying “at least he did something.”
Watch this as Pelosi discusses latest coronavirus relief negotiations:
Should Republicans act the better folk and meet Pelosi and the Democrats halfway? Or will doing so invite future trouble by giving more than what is necessary? If they get excuses instead of results, expect a strong response at the polls. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
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