President elect Joe biden approved $ 908 billion coronavirus relief proposal from a group of bipartisan senators, saying it “would not be the answer” but would provide immediate help to American workers and businesses reeling from the pandemic.
Talk to a virtual round table workers and small businesses Thursday, Biden said lawmakers “were trying like the devil” to pass another round of emergency aid. But he suggested that the framework unveiled Tuesday by a bipartisan coalition of moderate senators and endorsed by the House Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans, would not be adopted while President Trump was still in office.
“The president has said he will not support him, and apparently Republicans in the Senate have said they will not support him,” he said. “So now it’s back to square one.” (Trump’s position on the matter is unclear; Senator Lindsey Graham, RS, said Thursday that $ 908 billion was “well within the range of what he would support).
For months, Congress tried to pass another coronavirus relief deal, but lawmakers remain sharply divided over the size and scope of the legislation. Still, there were signs this week that both sides were trying to break the deadlock.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer reduced their demands by at least $ 2.2 trillion in new spending and supported the $ 908 billion deal as ” starting point “of the negotiations. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who spoke to Pelosi by phone Thursday for the first time since the 2020 election, said “compromise is within reach.”
With just five legislative days on their calendar, it’s unclear whether lawmakers will be able to overcome the deadlock and come to a deal that can pass both houses of Congress and that Trump will sign.
Biden has said he will continue to take additional stimulus measures once he is sworn in as president on January 20. March and $ 240 billion in relief for state and local governments, as well as a temporary moratorium on COVID liability lawsuits to give states enough time to design their own laws.
“It would be a good start. It’s not enough, ”he said in an interview with CNN Thursday night. “I think it should pass. I’ll ask for more… when we get there to get things done.”
The resumption of relief talks comes at an increasingly perilous time for the nation as it stands on the brink of yet another economic downturn. COVID-19 cases on the rise – United States reported highest number of coronavirus deaths in a single day with 3,157 new deaths on Wednesday – state and local governments implement more restriction measures and new unemployment insurance claims are increasing.
At the same time, the safety nets put in place at the start of the pandemic with the adoption of the CARES law in March have already lapsed or are expected to do so at the end of December. About 12 million laid-off workers will face no income on Dec. 26 after the expiration of two key federal unemployment assistance programs, according to a estimate from the Century Foundation, a nonprofit think tank.
Speaking in Congress this week, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated his call for lawmakers to pass yet another stimulus package to help the economy through winter.
“It would be very helpful and very important if there was additional tax support for the economy, really to get us through the winter,” said Powell. “I think we’ve made a lot of progress faster than expected, and now we have a big spike in COVID cases, and that can weigh on economic activity. People may withdraw from activities they were involved in or not engage in new activities.