09242020What's Hot:

McConnell, Schumer point fingers over failed COVID-19 relief talks

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blamed Democrats Monday for demanding a liberal, non-COVID-19-related agenda be furthered during coronavirus relief talks, saying President Trump was forced to take action over the weekend on his own to help soften the blow to Americans in need.

The Kentucky Republican accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of stalling for weeks, saying they wanted a trillion-dollar slush fund to bail out mismanaged state and local governments.

“They held up important aid over non-COVID-related demands,” Mr. McConnell said on the chamber floor. “It’s about far-left ideology.”

The top Senate Republican said states received $ 150 billion in relief funding from Congress earlier this year and have only used about a quarter of that, pushing back against Democrats’ demand.

Republicans tried to send money to states in their proposal to use for reopening schools safely, with Mr. McConnell noting that education is one of the top two expenses for states, the other being Medicare.

After two weeks of unsuccessful negotiations, though, Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer were not able to reach a deal with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for the fifth round of coronavirus relief.

During that time, the Paycheck Payment Protection program expired, making it more difficult for small businesses to try to keep people employed. Unemployment benefits from the feds also expired as the two parties couldn’t reach a deal about how long people should receive $ 600 a week after losing their jobs.

Mr. Trump announced over the weekend he would extend unemployment on his own at $ 400, with states paying 25 percent of the amount after a deal could not be reached on Capitol Hill.

The president also signed executive orders implementing a continued moratorium on student loan repayments, a payroll tax cut for people making under $ 100,000 a year, as well as an order aimed at assigning renters and homeowners.

Mr. Schumer, meanwhile, said it was Republicans who walked away from making a deal.

“We offered to move in their direction if they would move in ours,” the New York Democrat said. “The White House said no.”

He said the payroll tax cut will damage Social Security and Medicare, noting Mr. Trump campaigned in the past on not touching Social Security for seniors.

“This executive order is an example of many false promises Donald Trump has made,” Mr. Schumer said.

He also said in just 17 days the United States went from four million COVID-19 cases to five million.

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Source: www.washingtontimes.com stories: Politics

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