This Thursday is a crucial day in the negotiations of the Democrats and the federal government to reach an agreement that allows Congress to vote on the new economic aid package for the pandemic before the summer recess. While, President Donald Trump is preparing to sign an executive order to carry out his proposal without consulting lawmakers.
Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff; Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer met in the afternoon at the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, D-New York, to continue negotiations.
“The commitment must have a dollar sign before it”said Meadows, who warned there would be “very little incentive” to continue the talks if there was no agreement on the full amount of the legislative aid package.
Before entering the meeting, Schumer criticized the White House for imposing a deadline for the deal and for threatening to skip Congress in the absence of a pact.
“Everyone would agree that a compromise is much better,” Schumer said when asked about the prospect of an executive order.
But tempers in Washington, DC, had already heated up even before the meeting.
Pelosi said Thursday morning that Republicans “don’t give a damn” about the situation faced by more than 25 million Americans who have lost their jobs and have also stopped receiving the help of $ 600 a week approved in the first economic stimulus package.
“We are in a stalemate at the moment,” acknowledged the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Republican of Alabama, Richard Shelby, according to the newspaper. The Washington Post.
Weekly aid is one of the points that separates Democrats and Republicans. The former push for the extension of the benefit until the end of the year, while the Government’s plan is to reduce the amount to $ 200. Until this Wednesday, it was believed that they could reach an agreement around 400 dollars a week.
The negotiations also face the vacations scheduled by the senators and members of the Lower House, who will not be there next week. Although the congressmen can be called to participate in an extraordinary session if necessary.
The self-imposed goal by Democratic and government negotiators was to reach an agreement before the end of this week, to vote on the proposal next week, due to the end of financial aid from the first aid package, which has left 25 million people who lost their jobs to the coronavirus without the weekly benefit. This Saturday also expires the aid program for small businesses.
Given this scenario, Trump is preparing an executive order to be signed this Friday or Saturday, with which he would extend the benefits without consulting Congress.
In addition, the president said he was seeking to suspend the payroll tax and tenant evictions, or evictions.
“My Administration is looking at executive actions to protect Americans from evictions, as well as additional help for the unemployed. Very importantly, I am also looking at a temporary suspension of the payroll tax,” Trump said Wednesday at a conference call. press at the White House.
Another point of disagreement is, Pelosi said, that the Trump Administration is resisting a public health plan to combat the pandemic. “It is one of the points on which we have not yet reached an agreement,” the Democrat told ABC.
There are also no approaches regarding aid to schools that are reopening, an idea by Republicans to force the return of children to classes.
Democrats, as well as health experts advising the White House, have warned of the risk that schools in areas with peak cases will be welcoming students again.