Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Bipartisan stimulus deal threatened as McConnell refuses to back package

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Almost a week after Democratic leaders in Congress withdrew from their demand for a multibillion-dollar stimulus package, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has continued to tout his own plan, putting endanger the prospects of compromise.

McConnell’s top priority – federal limits on Covid-19-related lawsuits against businesses – has emerged as the biggest potential deal breaker. Republicans opposed the six-month moratorium proposed in a bipartisan stimulus package, saying it was too limited and talks stalled.

McConnell’s continued use of pre-change rhetoric from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on the overall amount of aid underscored the risk of no longer helping Covid-19 by the end of the year.

“Give up all or nothing tactics,” McConnell said of Democrats in the Senate on Monday. He again called on Schumer to authorize a vote on a targeted bill that provides extended unemployment insurance, small business support and funding for vaccine distribution.

Senators on both sides of the aisle have concluded that the prospects for a $ 908 billion compromise that Republican and Democratic negotiators work out will depend on McConnell’s decision. Several GOP members approved or were open to the plan, and White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow has said President Donald Trump will likely sign it. McConnell hires negotiators even though he hasn’t budged.

“I am optimistic that we are going to get somewhere,” McConnell told reporters Monday. “But I don’t have a report yet on how.

Two roadblocks

Republican and Democratic negotiators continued to oppose aid to states and communities as well as coronavirus liability protection for businesses.

“These are coupled together,” said GOP Senator John Cornyn of Texas, who could not predict whether the relief program will be enacted. “There will not be for both or for both that will be provided. I hope we will do both.

Republicans have criticized state aid as a bailout for predominantly Democratic areas, while Democrats have refused to give employers protection from lawsuits for poor protection from the spread of Covid-19.

Time is running out to get a deal, which Senator John Thune, the No. 2 Republican in that chamber, said on Monday would be linked to either an interim federal spending bill or a omnibus credits that finances the government in 2021.

The House will vote Wednesday on a standing resolution to keep the federal government in office for an additional week, before the existing stopgap runs out on Friday night. McConnell said the Senate would approve that “whenever we get it” from the House.

Expense invoice

Negotiators have also faced hurdles over the omnibus spending bill, including the money the Trump administration wants to spend on building the border wall. Dozens of other political fights have erupted, such as actions by House Democrats to protect the sage grouse bird and provide money for police training against racism.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, a Republican from Alabama, said he spoke to Pelosi on Monday about this bill and told him, “There is a lot in your bill. law that we will not accept.

Shelby also said: “This week is crucial.”

Speaking of the Covid-19 relief proposal, McConnell said it was going “all the way”.

Schumer blamed his GOP counterpart for blocking the compromise effort. He and Pelosi publicly endorsed the $ 908 billion plan last Wednesday, after giving another speech to McConnell two days earlier. They were previously looking for a $ 2.4 trillion dollar bill.

“We want the leader to sit down and negotiate so that we can come up with a bipartisan proposal that can be passed by the House and the Senate,” Schumer told the Senate. He pointed out that some economists are warning of a double-dip recession if Congress fails to strike a deal.

Members of the bipartisan team working on a compromise remained hopeful that success is still possible.

Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire said she was “full of hope.” She concluded, “It depends on what Mitch McConnell wants to do.”

Republican Senator Mitt Romney was worried about an increased number of negotiators who could stall things. But he said, “We weren’t told there was a deadline. We will continue to work until this is done.

“A lot of text has been written,” said GOP Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. The group is “still working on it”.

More political cover of Fortune:

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