Negotiations about prof Corona Virus The relief bill kicked off over the weekend, with Congress clocking in to introduce legislation on urgently needed aid as well as sweeping measure of government spending. And the Senate was postponed on Saturday evening until one in the afternoon Sunday without an agreement.
President Trump signed the continuing resolution that was drawn up in haste, To extend the deadline for Congress to pass the funding bill for another 48 hours.
Senator Dick Durbin assured reporters on Saturday that “it will not be this evening.”
Members of Congress did not appear close to reaching an agreement on Saturday, though they continued to insist that negotiations were close to conclusion.
“We are within reach,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi assured House Democrats in a conference call with members of her caucus on Saturday. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a speech to the Senate that it was time for “an outcome”, adding, “We are close to reaching an agreement, but we need to finish it.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also said that Congress “should finish our talks, draft a bill, and land this plane.”
McConnell said, “There is a kind of pull here in Congress that, unless we are careful, any major negotiations can easily slip into an endless list of disagreements. Let’s watch that.”
Despite these words from McConnell, there is one final sticking point in the negotiations: a proposal put forward by Republican Senator Pat Tommy with support from the Republican Congress that would end the emergency federal reserve lending programs that the CARES Act created in March.
“The legislation, my language, that I’m trying to get in this package, reaffirms that these CARES facilities expire on December 31, as Congress intended,” Tommy said in a speech to the Senate on Saturday.
However, Democrats argue that these lending programs are still needed, and accuse Republicans of letting the economic outlook worsen before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
“The biggest hurdle is this late comer for the party that is hurting the economy and slowing our ability to get this deal. It will forever prevent the president from engaging in exactly what President Obama did at a time of great recession,” Pelosi said to Democratic House of Representatives in a Saturday call, Referring to the Fed’s lending programs in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. “It’s a way for them to say to Joe Biden, we tie your hands. No matter what comes off the shaft, you can’t do that.”
Tommy met Schumer at the minority leader’s office later on Saturday.
Tommy said, “I think we should be able to close the deal, I don’t know the timeframe.”
Senator John Thun, the whip of the Republican majority, said he believed the negotiations would likely end by Sunday, but warned that negotiations could continue next week.
“I think at this point the most likely scenario is that it might start on Monday, but I think we’re all over the house and we’re on a slip path,” Thun told reporters on Saturday.
Republican Senator John F. Kennedy of Louisiana had a more bleak outlook on the prospect of a deal by Sunday.
“I don’t think this will be resolved anytime soon,” Kennedy told reporters on Saturday. “I could see us here until New Years Eve or Christmas Eve.”