Congress, Paralyzed on a Stimulus Deal, Offers Itself One other Week to Strike One

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Congress, Paralyzed on a Stimulus Deal, Gives Itself Another Week to Strike One

The two political divisions that have long marred a business cycle deal – Republicans ‘insistence on full coronavirus liability protection and Democrats’ request to provide an infusion of federal funds from states and cities facing financial crises – remain sticking points.

Democrats and some Republicans have argued that creating another round of discharge for state and local governments is crucial to avoid laying off city workers. However, many Republicans have mocked the proposal as a so-called blue state bailout that could address pre-existing budget constraints stemming from mismanagement rather than the economic fallout from the pandemic. Democrats have also warned that any comprehensive liability protection prioritized by Republicans is a non-starter, arguing that there has been no increase in litigation related to the pandemic and that blanket protection against such lawsuits would only serve to protect the To weaken workers.

Kentucky Republican Senator and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has proposed ditching both provisions in an effort to reach a swift agreement on a tighter package that includes funding for vaccine distribution and the Paycheck Protection Program, a popular small business loan program . However, some lawmakers are reluctant to resort to it, citing the urgency to address the aftermath of the pandemic.

“These problems are not going away,” said Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, who is part of the group working on a bipartisan compromise framework of $ 908 billion. “If anything, they just get bigger. So if we can just stick to it, you will get a proposal that we can move forward that not only solves goals like unemployment, PPP, food security, but also the state and local and tribal and liability problems – this is what we have been working on. We have to keep doing that. “

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. reiterated his support for a minor aid package on Friday, saying at an event in Wilmington, Delaware, “This aid package will not be the complete answer even if passed, but it is an important one first step. “

But the $ 908 billion framework that moderate lawmakers have been working on remains unfinished after days of private meetings and negotiations. Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, told reporters that “bridging the liability gap is proving to be extremely difficult”.

Should a final agreement and bill emerge, it is expected that limited legal protection for coronavirus-related lawsuits, US $ 160 billion state and local funding, US $ 160 billion for schools, businesses and vaccine distribution as well 300 US dollars per year are provided. Week of additional federal unemployment payments until spring.