Contentious negotiations between Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats ended Thursday with no resolution to the coronavirus stimulus package. They adjourned until September 8th, with the exception of pro forma sessions.
One of the biggest sticking points between the two sides is the unemployment benefits that ended on July 31st. Democrats want a continuation of the enhanced unemployment payment of $600 per week, while Republicans say that amount is too high. Democrats are also pushing for more than $900 billion for state and municipal aid, and $60 billion in food assistance, far higher than what Republicans have proposed.
With no official session for 26 days amidst worries regarding evictions and food insecurities, nearly 28 million Americans remain unemployed and have already used the $1200 stimulus check and weekly enhancements. Financial experts and state governors say it could take weeks for states to update their unemployment systems for the new rules and payout benefits. Until that kicks in or Congress comes to a deal, the 28 million people currently collecting jobless benefits will receive their baseline state benefit, which varies depending on where they live.
Despite the four executive orders that were signed by Donald Trump, none extend the federal eviction moratorium; rather they merely ask the states to “consider” whether temporarily banning residential evictions is “reasonably necessary” to prevent further spread of Covid-19. Many states have independently extended their own moratoriums on evictions (Washington State’s will now expire in October; New York will keep theirs in effect until the end of September), but as many as 40 million Americans could be facing eviction.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that if some kind of deal is reached while the Senate is on recess, members will return to Washington, D.C. for a vote. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the two sides would not strike a deal until Republicans added $1 trillion in aid to their bill. “It’s no wonder we have a vast difference because this administration, other Republicans in Congress have never understood the gravity of this situation,” Pelosi said of the breakdown in negotiations.
Many Democrats are calling for a much earlier return to Washington. Chris Murphy seemed to speak for the party when he tweeted his frustrations with McConnell.
Call the Senate back into session, Leader McConnell.
– People are starving
– Schools can’t safely reopen
– Testing lines are getting longerSee Also
Inaction is deadly. https://t.co/duLLx3tJS0
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) August 13, 2020