(UnitedVoice.com) – Throughout the week, White House and Democratic leaders met to negotiate a fifth COVID-19 relief bill. Both sides agree that the economy needs the government’s help. The solutions proposed by Democrats, however, are falling flat.
Source of the Stall
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been trying to negotiate a deal. However, they’re stuck at an impasse over the $600 per week federal unemployment benefit, as well as providing money for states. They set a self-imposed deadline to complete negotiations on Friday, August 7. That deadline came and went with no agreement.
The source of the delays stem from the new stimulus package proposed by the left.
House-led Democrats passed a $3 trillion HEROES Act in June. Senate Republicans declared it dead on arrival as they accused Democrats of stuffing it with special interest pork and money for liberal states that have mismanaged their funds for decades. The bill also extended the $600 per week federal unemployment benefit that Republicans claim is keeping people home instead of going back to work.
Meanwhile, Americans are suffering.
There’s a lot at stake for citizens as the negotiations collapse. Landlords are preparing to evict millions of tenants. Nearly 17 million people are still unemployed, and money is growing tight for many families struggling to make it through the pandemic.
On Friday, August 7, the US employment situation grew dire as only 1.76 million new jobs were created in July. That’s far below the 4.79 million in June as states started reopening from quarantines and shutdowns. The smaller increase in new employment comes as COVID-19 cases in California, Texas, and Florida significantly increase.
Pelosi and Schumer Attempt a Compromise
On Friday morning, the House Speaker and Senate Minority Leader said they attempted to reach a compromise with the White House and Republicans. Pelosi said Democrats offered to reduce their $3 trillion proposal by $1 trillion if Republicans agreed to increase theirs by $1 trillion. The net effect is a $2 trillion bill. Pelosi said their $1 trillion cost reduction would come at the expense of programs like food assistance.
Pelosi stated that Mnuchin and Meadows said “absolutely not” to the Democrats’ compromise.
On Friday afternoon, Mnuchin said the Democrat’s proposal was a “non-starter.” Some Senate Republicans said they would be voting “no” over concerns the government is borrowing too heavily. Therefore, the White House needs enough Democrats in the Senate to support the bill in order to pass something.
In anticipation that the negotiations could collapse, President Donald Trump ordered his staff to prepare executive orders on Thursday night. The president said he would unilaterally extend unemployment benefits, enact a payroll tax delay, reinstate the eviction moratorium, and continue a suspension of student loan payments if congress can’t get its act together.
If there is going to be a deal, it probably won’t happen next week. Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) is prepared to send the senate home. If the president does act without Congress, it could face legal challenges by Democrats.
For the sake of Americans who are struggling at no fault of their own, let’s hope the two sides come together soon.
By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor
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