WASHINGTON The lumber industry took another temporary spending measure to buy time in negotiations over a bill for coronavirus control as it sought details of a nearly $900 billion package on Thursday.
As the deadline for government funding approaches, leading Republicans and Democrats are moving closer to a rescue package that would send many Americans a direct check, increase unemployment benefits, help small businesses, and fund the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine, among other measures.
Planning to adopt the aid law and a broad package of public spending, the legislators hoped to complete the aid law before the current government funding expires at 12:01 p.m.. Saturday. But as the deadline approached, negotiators said they could agree to a short-term spending patch to help the government wait until the aid package was ready.
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I always appreciate our productive discussions, but I hope we remember the relevance of this situation to millions and millions of our citizens, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said Thursday. We’ll stay here until we’re done, even if it means working all weekend, which is very likely.
As claims for Covid 19 continue to rise across the country, nearly 900,000 people applied for unemployment benefits last week, another sign of the slowing economic recovery. Unemployment and other forms of assistance will come to an end in the coming weeks without Congress intervening.
Negotiations resumed on Thursday after the Minister of Finance
Speaker of the House
(D., California) and Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), the Senate minority leader, spoke late Wednesday night.
None of the remaining obstacles can be overcome. Everyone is committed to results and we are not leaving until we have done our work, Schumer said Thursday.
The White House also lobbied for a deal.
President Trump is committed to helping workers, families and small businesses before the holidays, White House press secretary Ben Williamson said Thursday morning. Talks with the leaders on Capitol Hill continue, and we are optimistic that an agreement can be reached within the next 24 to 48 hours, he said.
On Thursday, the legislators debated the support requested by Mr Schumer for promoters of live concerts. Republicans call for a redistribution of funds previously earmarked for the Federal Reserve’s emergency programmes.
Mr. Mnuchin refused to renew the credit lines at the beginning of the year, and
Senator Pat Toomey
(R., Pa.) would like the bailout law to be formulated to require the loan programmes to be closed at the end of the year. Terminating these programs could significantly reduce the extent to which the Biden administration can rely on them next year, even if they are extended, as the funding has allowed the Fed to provide riskier loans.
Other issues at stake were the duration of a weekly increase in unemployment benefits and the emergency aid distributed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to people familiar with the negotiations.
Democrats want to adjust the distribution of emergency aid expenditure between the federal government and the state and local authorities.
Negotiations on the long-discussed aid package resumed this week after the Republicans and Democrats dropped the two most controversial issues: Support for national and local authorities and better protection of the liability of companies, schools and health institutions. Both parties have been at odds for months and a bipartisan group of legislators has been unable to reach agreement on a compromise on liability protection.
Many Republicans were skeptical about giving more money to state and local governments that faced fiscal problems during the pandemic, while Democrats resisted making it harder for people to sue companies or employers when they contracted Covid-19.
Mr McConnell proposed to remove these two issues from the current rescue package, withdrawing his request to include liability protection in the rescue package. While Democrats initially rejected the compromise, lawmakers plan to finalise the support package soon and exclude state and local support. A person familiar with the negotiations said the package would support national and local governments on other fronts.
The current aid of about 900 billion dollars is not enough to meet the needs of the poor. The $11.5 million comes from what both parties had already proposed. The Republicans preferred a package of about $500 billion for most of the decline, while the Democrats insisted on a $2.4 trillion package. In the pre-election negotiations, the Trump policy proposed a $1.8 trillion package. The Senate spent $12 billion, even though many Republican senators oppose spending at that level.
Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R., S.D., said Wednesday the package will include a direct check likely to cost $600 to $700, less than the $1,200 check sent to many Americans earlier this year.
-Katherine Lucy has contributed to this article.
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