On Sunday July 26th, President Donald Trump’s top aides agreed with Senate Republicans on the party’s opening offer in negotiations with Democrats, which is a US$1 trillion coronavirus relief package before the expiration of enhanced unemployment benefits in less than a week.
In the Capitol, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters that after some final details are clarified, he expects the package to be unveiled on Monday afternoon.
Extended unemployment benefits that aim to replace 70 per cent of a laid-off worker’s previous wages will be contained in the package, according to US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
As Mnuchin left the Capitol on Sunday, he told reporters “We’re done.” He said there were “no outstanding issues” while some details were being confirmed.
The US1 trillion Republican offer is expected to include another round of direct payments to individuals, a reduced federal supplement to unemployment benefits and liability protections against coronavirus-related laws, though Mnuchin and Meadows would not elaborate further on the details.
Consumer spending was propped up by an extra US$600 per week in federal unemployment benefits according to economists, and has allowed rent and mortgages to paid by laid off workers.
This benefit however, is due to expire on Friday. Approved in March, the benefits were part of a US$3.7 trillion coronavirus aid package when the US economy shut down.
However, the coronavirus infections continue to surge in states such as California and Florida as business reopened. On Sunday, in terms of total new infection cases, California and Florida have overtaken New York which was an early hotspot for the coronavirus.
There are nearly 4.2 million confirmed Covid-19 cases in America along with a death toll of over 146,000. The rate of infection in America is as high as one infection in every 79 people.
On Sunday, Mnuchin and Meadows discussed the idea of a piecemeal approach to the next round of coronavirus relief before going to Capitol Hill, leaving other issues to be tackled later and placing priority on expiring items.
The expiration of unemployment benefits and shielding businesses, schools and universities from lawsuits are the two most pressing issues according to what Mnuchin told Fox News Sunday.
A US$3 trillion coronavirus relief bill was passed by House Democrats in May with the intention of keeping the $600-a-week supplement in place until the end of 2020.
Republicans received criticism by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, for being unable to agree on a plan when Americans were going hungry and “on the brink”.
Pelosi told CBS’s Face the Nation that “They’re in disarray and that delay is causing suffering for America’s families.” Americans will receive a US$1,200 check as part of the new package, along with tax credits for small businesses and restaurants according to White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow.
CNN’s State of the Union was told by Kudlow that a federal moratorium of evictions contained in the previous relief legislation would also be extended in the package.
A flat amount of enhanced benefits is preferred by Democrats rather than having to figure out 70 per cent of a worker’s wages; a problem for some outdated state computer systems.
Pelosi said “The reason we had US$600 was its simplicity.” A situation in which workers can be told they are essential but the employer has no responsibility to make the workplace safe for them is not supported by Democrats, said Pelosi.
According to Fox News Sunday, Mnuchin said he was optimistic about a deal with Democrats. “We can move very quickly with the Democrats on these issues. We’ve moved quickly before, and I see no reason why we can’t move quickly again,” Mnuchin said.
27th July 18:20
This article brought to you by Legacy Times 传城时代
Our partner sites: