Normally, Democrats are all for giving away money.
Apparently not when it’s the idea of Donald Trump and the Republican Party. Their plan involves quickly issuing $1,200 checks to Americans as a form of aid during the coronavirus crisis.
Democrats, however, want to drastically expand unemployment benefits.
Check out what’s being said right now:
The Wall Street Journal reports the following:
Negotiations on a massive economic stimulus package hit snags on how to provide assistance to Americans during the coronavirus pandemic as a target to reach a bipartisan agreement by Friday slipped.
Among the chief remaining obstacles to an agreement on the legislation, which could ultimately cost more $1 trillion, was deciding on whether to give cash payments directly to some Americans, expand unemployment insurance or some combination of the two.
A Senate Republican opening offer and the Trump administration called for direct payments to workers, while Democrats have sought dramatically increased unemployment benefits.
Democrats are also pushing for the final agreement to expand paid leave and funds to support state and local efforts to respond to the disease outbreak, which has brought much of American life to a standstill, cratered financial markets, and brought the global economy to the brink of a major slowdown.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) had called on lawmakers to reach an initial agreement by the end of the day Friday, but lawmakers and Trump administration officials ended talks Friday with a goal of beginning negotiations again Saturday morning.
“It’s a big complicated huge bill and tonight, I would hope to come to agreements tomorrow,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), who spoke with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin twice on Friday. “They’re making progress, but there’s so much to do, I think tonight is hard.”
White House Legislative Affairs Director Eric Ueland said Republicans hoped to have an agreement in hand by Saturday afternoon so the Senate could move forward with a vote early next week.
Any eventual deal will need to be bipartisan because it requires 60 votes in the Senate and must pass the Democratic-controlled House to become law, meaning Republicans and Democrats will have to bridge their divisions.
Over at The Hill, they had this to add:
Senate GOP negotiators argue that $1,200 direct payments to individuals are the best way to get money flowing through the economy quickly, while Democrats say disbursing cash benefits so broadly doesn’t do enough for low-income Americans and people who lose their jobs.
Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) on Friday said Congress should pass a massive expansion of unemployment benefits instead of simply doling out checks to individuals and families, regardless of whether they miss work because of health quarantines.
“There are many, many who have lost their jobs and one check when they may be out of their jobs for three, four, five months isn’t going to be enough. Unemployment insurance gives money the whole period of time the crisis exists at your present salary level and covers just about everyone,” Schumer said.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who participated in an initial round of talks with Senate Republican chairmen on Friday morning, argued that direct payments will not be as effective as expanded unemployment benefits.
“In the Republican package there was nothing on unemployment insurance,” Stabenow said. “We are not in any way seeing yet the focus enough on workers, on the workforce, on people getting hit the hardest.”
She also faulted the GOP plan for not providing a “robust” expansion of health care resources and instead characterized many of the 43 health-related provisions in the Republican bill as “stop-gap.”
Stabenow characterized the negotiations on expanding unemployment benefits as robust and said the question is “how to most effectively do this.”