Democrats and Republican leaders launched accusations before the start of a new round to negotiate in Congress a new stimulus package to slow the economic decline in the United States due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In an interview with CNBC television, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said the Republicans’ refusal to recognize the needs is what is standing in the way of a deal.
“They may be confused with someone who cares (about the situation). That’s the problem, you see, the thing is that (Republicans) don’t believe in governance,” she said.
The Democrats want Congress to pass a $3 trillion bailout that would keep the $600 a week unemployment assistance intact, while the Republicans are offering $1 trillion with a cut in unemployment assistance to $200 a week.
The reinforcement of unemployment aid was agreed as part of the fiscal rescue plan at the end of March for a total of $2.2 trillion, the largest in the country’s history, but which has proved insufficient in view of the severity of the crisis.
In her weekly press conference, Pelosi on Thursday rejected the possibility of a temporary extension of the aid program for the unemployed, which expired last week.
“We are not going to have an extension in the short term,” said the Democrat, who reiterated that they have no intention of withdrawing their request for the restoration of this aid: “We have said that we were going to have the $600. They (Republicans) know we want the $600.
Senate progressive minority leader Chuck Schumer, who was at the same press conference, added: “Why dismantle a program that almost all economists say works to put something new in place that will take months to take effect?
For his part, Senate Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell lashed out at progressives on Twitter: “The Democrats’ obstruction last week forced additional federal unemployment benefits to expire. Their obstruction this week will force another deadline: the PPP will close its doors on Saturday. The Republicans had plans to prevent both from expiring. The Democrats have rejected them.
The so-called Enhanced Unemployment Benefit expired last week for the 30 million beneficiaries, while the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses will expire this Saturday.
This crossover of accusations comes hours before Pelosi and Schumer meet at the Capitol with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows for a new round of negotiations.
The White House hopes for an agreement today, Friday, but Democrats have warned that they will not adhere to that timetable.
In response, President Donald Trump told reporters before leaving for Ohio that he would sign several executive orders by Friday morning to extend unemployment benefits and cut payroll taxes.
“As I leave the Oval Office for Ohio, I have notified my staff to continue working on an executive order regarding payroll tax cuts, eviction protections, unemployment extensions and student loan payment options,” Trump said on Twitter.