McConnell plans coronavirus aid vote as Pelosi says White House stimulus plan falls short

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans a vote on limited coronavirus stimulus legislation based around the Paycheck Protection Program this month.
  • Meanwhile, President Donald Trump tweeted that lawmakers should “go big or go home” ahead of the 2020 election.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is negotiating a potential stimulus deal with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, said the latest White House proposal “falls significantly short” of what is need to address the crisis.

Senate will take up Covid-19 small business relief when it returns, says Mitch McConnell

UP NEXT

UP NEXT

The Senate will vote on a limited coronavirus stimulus bill this month, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday, as lawmakers stumble in their push to send aid to Americans before the 2020 election.

In a statement, the Kentucky Republican said the Senate would take up aid legislation after the full chamber returns on Monday. McConnell called the plan “targeted relief for American workers, including new funding” for Paycheck Protection Program small business loans. Speaking at an event in his home state, he said the bill would also include money for schools, an unemployment insurance boost and liability protections for businesses.

McConnell said in his statement that the Senate would have enough time to both pass the relief proposal and confirm Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett “unless Democrats block this aid for workers.” Democrats have in recent days targeted Republicans for moving forward with Barrett’s nomination while millions of Americans left jobless by the virus outbreak await federal assistance.

Democrats, who blocked a roughly $500 billion Republican plan in the Senate last month, could dismiss the latest GOP proposal as inadequate. A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer did not immediately respond to a request to comment on whether Democrats would support the new Republican bill.

McConnell announced plans for a vote as hopes for new spending to boost the health-care system and economy dim. Democrats and the Trump administration have failed to strike a relief deal as the U.S. creeps closer to Election Day on Nov. 3. Meanwhile, the White House and Senate Republicans appear more out of sync than ever on what the federal response will require.

“STIMULUS! Go big or go home!!!” President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday shortly after McConnell detailed plans to vote on narrow legislation.

Over the weekend, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin offered House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a roughly $1.8 trillion plan — about $400 billion less than the bill House Democrats passed earlier this month. Pelosi has dismissed the proposal, and on Tuesday suggested Trump “only wants his name on a check to go out before Election Day and for the [stock] market to go up.”

“Over 215,000 Americans have died, nearly 7.8 million have been infected and millions more are still without jobs or income security and therefore struggling to make rent and put food on the table,” she wrote to House Democrats. “Tragically, the Trump proposal falls significantly short of what this pandemic and deep recession demand.”

Pelosi for

Read more

White House urges small business rescue plan

The White House on Sunday changed tactics yet again on boosting the pandemic-hit US economy, this time urging lawmakers to back a plan to help small businesses weeks ahead of the presidential election.

The change comes after President Donald Trump’s Republican Party and Democrats both rejected, for different reasons, a beefed-up $1.8 trillion economic rescue plan proposed Friday.

In a letter Sunday to Congress, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urged backing for a bill allowing some $130 billion in unused funds from a previous support plan to be redirected.

The money would be earmarked for businesses, particularly small and medium-sized companies, that are facing declining revenues while negotiations for more support drag on.

“Now is the time for us to come together and immediately vote on a bill to allow us to spend the unused Paycheck Protection Program funds while we continue to work toward a comprehensive package,” the letter said.

– Not enough –

It is unlikely that Democrats will accept the request with about three weeks left until the November 3 election and as Trump trails challenger Joe Biden badly in opinion polls. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is negotiating with the administration, has already rejected any idea of targeted measures, saying she wants broad economic support that she believes will boost activity.

The White House’s new strategy comes after a week in which Trump and his team had already switched tactics, jumping between cutting off talks, returning to the negotiating table and targeted measures — but without much success.

Markets tanked on Tuesday following Trump’s abrupt move to end stimulus talks, but he made an about-face in subsequent days that saw him calling for a deal.

The White House on Friday beefed up its offer, proposing a $1.8 trillion package as Trump himself said that he favored an even larger package.

But the proposal was rejected on both sides.

Pelosi said the plan amounted to “one step forward, two steps back,” adding that the proposed sum was not enough.

Many Republican senators deemed Trump’s offer too generous. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell poured cold water on the chances for a deal Friday, saying Congress is unlikely to agree on a new stimulus package before the election due to differences over how much to spend.

But Trump’s economic advisor said Sunday that a new Covid-19 economic stimulus package proposed by the White House could still be passed, despite opposition from Democrats and some Republicans.

Asked if the proposed deal was dead, Larry Kudlow told CNN’s “State of the Union,” “No, I don’t think it’s dead at all.”

“We’re asking for some targeted areas of assistance that would help this recovery. It is a V-shaped recovery, but there are key areas that could help,” Kudlow said.

The coronavirus has hit the US economy hard: nearly 11 million people are unemployed, and a total of 25 million people have seen their incomes drop and are relying on public aid.

Many

Read more

White House offers $1.8 trillion plan

CLOSE

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday he hasn’t been to the White House since August 6.

USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – The White House offered Democrats a $1.8 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package as President Donald Trump reverses course on stimulus negotiations, saying he wants to “Go Big.”

The proposal is a $1.8 trillion offer, according to an administration official speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss details of a negotiation still underway. It is about $200 billion more than the White House’s $1.6 trillion proposal last week.

The White House’s latest offer is still smaller than the $2.2 trillion Democrats most recently offered and which Trump rejected on Tuesday. Trump seemed to undercut his administration’s negotiation Friday afternoon, telling Rush Limbaugh in an interview, “I would like to see a bigger stimulus package frankly than either the Democrats or the Republicans are offering.”

White House spokesperson Alyssa Farah told reporters later Friday the administration wants to “stay below 2 trillion.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talked on the phone Friday with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for just over a half hour, Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill said.

According to Hammill, Mnuchin “attempted” to return with a new proposal, but Hammill noted the “absence of an agreement on a strategic plan to crush the virus,” echoing a letter Pelosi sent to House Democrats earlier in the day outlining Democrats’ demands for relief provisions to include a plan for testing, contact-tracing, and vaccines. Democrats were still waiting on the text of a proposal and negotiations on the overall funding amount would continue, he said. 

Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow told reporters Friday that Trump had approved a “revised” stimulus package, though he declined to provide details. Kudlow has not been part of negotiations so far, which have largely involved Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and Mnuchin.

More: House passes COVID-19 stimulus bill opposed by Senate as negotiations stall out

Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!”

Pelosi said on MSNBC Friday she would talk more with Mnuchin as they worked through differences on funding amounts and on policy in the bill. Negotiations have deadlocked over provisions like funding for state and local governments and the dollar amount for a federal unemployment benefit boost. “I do hope we will have an agreement soon,” she said.

The optimism comes three days after Trump abruptly rejected the recent Democratic proposal and said he wanted to postpone any negotiations until after the November election. Since then, Trump has reversed course, saying he wanted standalone bills to send out stimulus checks and provide relief to airlines.

Any negotiated deal, however, will have to pass through the Republican-controlled Senate, where members have expressed hesitancy at spending trillions of dollars on COVID-19 relief.

At an event in Kentucky Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it was “unlikely” a stimulus deal would occur before the election.

He said at another event it

Read more

White House to offer $1.8 trillion plan

CLOSE

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday he hasn’t been to the White House since August 6.

USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – The White House is set to offer Democrats a $1.8 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package as President Donald Trump reverses course on stimulus negotiations, saying he wants to “Go Big.”

The proposal is a $1.8 trillion offer, according to an administration official speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss details of a negotiation still underway. It is about $200 billion more than the White House’s $1.6 trillion proposal last week. It is still smaller than the $2.2 trillion Democrats most recently offered and which Trump rejected on Tuesday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is set to talk Friday with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow told reporters Friday that Trump had approved a “revised” stimulus package, though he declined to provide details. Kudlow has not been part of negotiations so far, which have largely involved Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and Mnuchin.

More: House passes COVID-19 stimulus bill opposed by Senate as negotiations stall out

Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!”

Pelosi said on MSNBC Friday she would talk more with Mnuchin as they worked through differences on funding amounts and on policy in the bill. Negotiations have deadlocked over provisions like funding for state and local governments and the dollar amount for a federal unemployment benefit boost. “I do hope we will have an agreement soon,” she said.

The optimism comes three days after Trump abruptly rejected the recent Democratic proposal and said he wanted to postpone any negotiations until after the November election. Since then, Trump has reversed course, saying he wanted standalone bills to send out stimulus checks and provide relief to airlines.

Any negotiated deal, however, will have to pass through the Republican-controlled Senate, where members have expressed hesitancy at spending trillions of dollars on COVID-19 relief.

At an event in Kentucky Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it was “unlikely” a stimulus deal would occur before the election.

He said at another event it was “unclear” if both sides could reach a deal on another package, adding the “first item of priority in the Senate is the Supreme Court” and confirming Trump’s nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett. 

Mitch McConnell: A COVID-19 relief deal is ‘unlikely’ before Election Day

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/10/09/covid-19-stimulus-update-white-house-offer-1-8-trillion-plan/5938866002/

Source Article

Read more

Interior secretary will not delay New Mexico land-use plan

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. interior secretary refused to delay a land-use plan that opponents say will lead to drilling thousands of new oil and gas wells.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said Monday the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Affairs will go forward with the plan for the Greater Chaco region, The Farmington Daily Times reported.

A public comment period ended Sept. 25 for the Farmington Field Office Mancos-Gallup Resource Management Plan Amendment after being extended from May because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Opponents said the health conditions that led Bernhardt to extend the comment period have not changed and further action should be paused until in-person meetings can resume.

“We need to move forward and get this plan done,” Bernhardt said of the resource management plan amendment that has been in the works since 2014.

Staff will review public comments and weigh various alternatives outlined in the draft environmental impact statement, Bernhardt said.

The Navajo Nation was among the entities requesting the plan be postponed during the pandemic.

Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham echoed the calls to delay adoption, requesting an ethnographic study be completed before the plan is finalized. Congress allocated $1 million for an ethnographic study.

Bernhardt said while the study will be useful, there are laws in place protecting cultural sites including the National Historic Preservation Act.

Bernhardt plans to continue deferring leases within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of the park boundaries through the end of the year, which he said gives the New Mexico congressional delegation time to pass legislation to codify the buffer zone.

Source Article

Read more

DEP sets public hearing date for Liberty State Park ‘interior’ plan

The state Department of Environmental Protection has set 6 p.m. Oct. 20 as the time and date for the public hearing on its proposed plan for 234 acres of currently fenced-off land in Liberty State Park.

The hearing will be conducted virtually. Anyone wishing to attend must register by Oct. 15 by going to njdepcalendar.com/calendar/events/index.php?com=detail&eID=654.

Registrants will receive more details and a link to the virtual meeting.

Designers who have been working on a proposal for the land, known as the park’s “interior,” are at the 30 percent complete mark, triggering the need for the hearing. There, the DEP will present the preliminary design proposal, and attendees will be able to submit comments and ask questions. The DEP will also accept comments via an online survey.

In a news briefing last month, DEP officials gave a broad overview of its plan to remediate the contamination that exists in the interior and restore its wetlands with passive recreation and trails to improve access to the park.

The plan has already generated heated debate over the extent of contamination cleanup envisioned and the design.

Once the public comment period ends, the DEP will be tasked with deciding the next steps.

Source Article

Read more

U.S. House passes Democratic COVID-19 aid plan after bipartisan deal proves elusive

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a $2.2 trillion Democratic plan to provide more economic relief from the coronavirus pandemic, as a bipartisan deal continued to elude House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the White House.

Objections from top Republicans are likely to doom the House Democrats’ plan in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has called the $2.2 trillion price tag “outlandish,” although Democrats have reduced the cost of their proposal by over a trillion dollars since May. The House vote was 214-207.

No Republican voted for the Democratic plan, although 18 Democrats voted no, many of them moderates from swing districts who have been urging Pelosi to bring a bipartisan proposal to the House floor.

“Today’s package is another partisan exercise that will never become law,” Representative Abigail Spanberger, one of the Democrats who voted no, said.

Republican President Donald Trump’s negotiating team has suggested a $1.6 trillion response, and the White House on Thursday dismissed Democrats’ $2.2 trillion plan as not serious.

Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have talked every day this week, including a 50-minute phone call Thursday, in an effort to negotiate a bipartisan aid package to respond to the economic fallout from a pandemic that has killed more than 207,000 Americans and thrown millions out of work.

Congress and the White House approved more than $3 trillion worth of coronavirus relief measures earlier this year, but Mnuchin, as well as members of Congress from both parties, have argued more stimulus is needed.

Asked if there would be a resolution to her negotiations with the administration on Thursday evening, Pelosi told reporters, “No.” She gave no details of their talks but said: “Even if we came to some agreement, nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to. It’s the language.”

In the absence of a deal with the White House, and with lawmakers preparing to leave Washington for the remaining weeks of the 2020 presidential and congressional campaign, the Democratic-majority House went ahead and passed the Democrats’ proposal.

“Frankly if we had reached a bipartisan agreement…we wouldn’t have this bill on the floor,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said. “But we also want to let the American people know where we stand.”

Pelosi and Mnuchin differed over aid to state and local governments, Democratic demands for a child tax credit and stronger worker safety protections, healthcare provisions and help for small businesses.

After Pelosi and Mnuchin’s phone call Thursday afternoon, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill wrote on Twitter: “The two discussed further clarifications on amounts and language, but distance on key areas remain.”

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany dismissed the Democratic proposal as “not a serious offer.”

Pelosi said of the White House proposal on Bloomberg TV: “This isn’t half a loaf. What they’re offering is the heel of the loaf.”

Republican Senator Mike Braun told CNBC on Thursday that a deal worth over $1.6 trillion could be rejected by one-third

Read more

House approves $2.2 trillion stimulus plan from Democrats with no bipartisan deal in sight

The House of Representatives on Thursday approved a $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus proposal put forward by House Democrats with no bipartisan deal in sight, even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have continued talks in an effort to reach an agreement.



a person wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 23: U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) arrives at the U.S. Capitol on April 23, 2020 in Washington, DC. The House of Representatives is expected to vote later today on the latest economic stimulus package passed earlier in the week by the U.S. Senate. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)


© Win McNamee/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 23: U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) arrives at the U.S. Capitol on April 23, 2020 in Washington, DC. The House of Representatives is expected to vote later today on the latest economic stimulus package passed earlier in the week by the U.S. Senate. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The measure passed largely along party lines amid GOP opposition with a final tally of 214-207. Eighteen Democrats crossed party lines to vote against the bill, while Republicans were united in opposition.

The legislation will give Democrats something to point to as lawmakers face pressure from constituents to deliver more aid as the pandemic continues to take a devastating toll across America. But the Democratic plan has been rejected by Republicans as too costly and is not expected to be taken up by the GOP-led Senate, and time is quickly running out to clinch a bipartisan agreement that could be signed into law ahead of Election Day.

Pelosi, as she walked off the House floor, told a group of reporters Thursday evening ahead of the vote that there will be no agreement on any stimulus deal Thursday night, but talks with Mnuchin will continue.

Pelosi stressed that the central issue is less about whether they can reach a topline agreement in principle, but about whether they can nail down the actual details in legislative language.

“Even if we came to some agreement, nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to. It’s the language,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi said she was headed back to her office to review documents sent to her by Mnuchin and would figure out where things go next after that.

Pelosi and Mnuchin spoke by phone on Thursday afternoon, but after the call there was still no deal at hand.

Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, tweeted later that during the call “the two discussed further clarifications on amounts and language but distance on key areas remain. Their conversation will continue this afternoon.”

Video: Pelosi: Dems will propose new covid relief plan shortly (CNN)

Pelosi: Dems will propose new covid relief plan shortly

UP NEXT

UP NEXT

In an indication of how challenging it may be to reach a bipartisan agreement at this point, Pelosi, on a private call with the House Democratic whip team Thursday morning, sounded very down about the prospects of a deal for a new stimulus package to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, according to two people on the call.

Pelosi repeatedly spoke of the “different values” held by Democrats and Republicans, making clear that even the latest offer from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin fell far short of what was needed to

Read more

House on track to vote on $2.2 trillion stimulus plan from Democrats with no bipartisan deal in sight

The House of Representatives is on track to vote Thursday evening on a $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus proposal put forward by House Democrats with no bipartisan deal in sight even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have continued talks in an effort to reach an agreement.



a person wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 23: U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) arrives at the U.S. Capitol on April 23, 2020 in Washington, DC. The House of Representatives is expected to vote later today on the latest economic stimulus package passed earlier in the week by the U.S. Senate. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)


© Win McNamee/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 23: U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) arrives at the U.S. Capitol on April 23, 2020 in Washington, DC. The House of Representatives is expected to vote later today on the latest economic stimulus package passed earlier in the week by the U.S. Senate. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Time is quickly running out to clinch a bipartisan agreement that could be signed into law as Democrats move forward to advance a plan that Republicans have rejected as too costly and is not expected to be taken up by the GOP-held Senate.

Pelosi and Mnuchin spoke by phone on Thursday afternoon, marking the latest discussion between the top stimulus negotiators, but after the call there was no deal at hand.

Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, tweeted later that during the call “the two discussed further clarifications on amounts and language but distance on key areas remain. Their conversation will continue this afternoon.”

In an indication of how challenging it may be to reach a bipartisan agreement at this point, Pelosi, on a private call with the House Democratic whip team Thursday morning, sounded very down about the prospects of a deal for a new stimulus package to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, according to two people on the call.

Pelosi repeatedly spoke of the “different values” held by Democrats and Republicans, making clear that even the latest offer from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin fell far short of what was needed to deal with her view of the scale of the current economic issues.

Pelosi’s framing on the private call earlier Thursday tracks with the criticism she’s leveled at Republicans during stimulus negotiations for months — that the Trump administration simply isn’t willing to do what’s necessary on the fiscal side of things to address the depth of the economic problems created by the pandemic.

Republicans say it is now up to Pelosi to counter the roughly $1.6 trillion proposal Mnuchin put on the table Wednesday, which is hundreds of billions of dollars away from the roughly $2.2 trillion plan House Democrats could vote on as soon as later Thursday.

Video: Pelosi: Dems will propose new covid relief plan shortly (CNN)

Pelosi: Dems will propose new covid relief plan shortly

UP NEXT

UP NEXT

Pelosi said during her weekly news conference that she is “hopeful that we can reach agreement” on a bipartisan deal, but nevertheless made clear that the two sides are not on the same page on key issues.

“We’re kind of in the ballpark on some things,” Pelosi said, but added, “still way off in terms of state and local

Read more

A top House Republican criticized the $400 weekly federal unemployment benefit in the White House stimulus plan, saying the GOP doesn’t want ‘wasteful spending’



Kevin Brady wearing a suit and tie: Republican Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas on Capitol Hill. Andrew Harnik/AP Photo


© Andrew Harnik/AP Photo
Republican Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas on Capitol Hill. Andrew Harnik/AP Photo

  • Rep, Kevin Brady criticized elements of the White House plan, including a $400 federal unemployment benefit.
  • “The worry is: ‘How much wasteful spending will we have to swallow to do this?” Brady said in a Fox Business interview.
  • Brady, the top Republican on the House Ways & Means Committee, expressed concern that a $400 federal unemployment benefit disincentivizes work.
  • Numerous studies indicate an earlier $600 federal benefit didn’t keep people out of the labor force.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas — the ranking Republican on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee — was critical of elements within the White House’s stimulus proposal on Thursday, including a $400 weekly federal unemployment benefit.

During an interview with Fox Business, Brady said many Republicans are reluctant to back a stimulus plan with a big price tag.

“The worry is: ‘How much wasteful spending will we have to swallow to do this?” Brady said, adding he wanted the federal government to prioritize spending on thwarting the coronavirus and aiding the jobless.

But he expressed concern that a $400 federal supplement to state unemployment checks would disincentivize people from seeking work, arguing many would earn more out of work than on the job as a result.

It’s a claim often made by Republicans about the economic impact of the $600 federal unemployment benefit that expired in late July. Numerous studies show it didn’t keep jobless people out of the workforce.

Brady said “targeted help” was needed, particularly to airlines moving ahead with layoffs and the restaurant industry.

Read more: BlackRock’s investment chief breaks down why Congress passing a second round of fiscal stimulus is ‘quite serious’ for markets and the economy — and pinpoints which sectors will benefit in either scenario

House Democrats led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi are pressing for a $2.2 trillion stimulus plan. It includes a $600 weekly federal unemployment benefit, another wave of $1,200 stimulus checks, and aid to cash-strapped states and small businesses.

Meanwhile, the White House put forward a $1.6 trillion virus aid proposal containing many of the same measures, but lower spending amounts.

Brady’s remarks underscore the opposition to significant federal spending among GOP lawmakers. Many in the GOP say they’re opposed to stimulus plans since it would grow the federal debt. Lawmakers have approved over $3 trillion in federal aid since the pandemic began devastating the economy in the spring.

Negotiations between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Pelosi stretched into their fifth day on Thursday. The California Democrat assailed the White House’s proposal in a Bloomberg TV interview.

“This isn’t half a loaf. What they’re offering is the heel of the loaf… and you really can’t just say, well, just take this,” she said.

Read more: Stimulus talks press on as dealmakers push for another boost to unemployment payments. Here’s everything you need to know about the rescue package.

Continue Reading
Read more