By Victor Trammell – As the ongoing COVID-19-related crisis continues to destabilize the nation’s economy, members of the U.S. Congress are not making progress in closing a deal on a second stimulus relief package for 2020.
However, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said earlier this week that U.S. House legislators will act on the matter of providing a bill, which calls for more federal aid. Pelosi said such an action will take place before U.S. House Reps. leave Capitol Hill for their constituencies to prepare for Election Day on November 3, the New York Times reports.
The U.S. House Speaker’s confirmation is the latest round of lip service to come after August negotiations failed between the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate and the Democrat-led U.S. House. A $3.4 trillion-dollar proposal by Congressional Democrats passed through the U.S. House in May 2020.
However, due to “wasteful spending,” the Democrat-stamped HEROES Act was ultimately rejected by Senate Republicans.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) was in favor of a smaller $1.5 trillion-dollar deal, which still provided another round of $1,200-dollar checks for individual American taxpayers making $75,000 dollars or less annually. The first 2020 stimulus measure (the March U.S. CARES Act) also provided such aid for U.S. workers in that tax bracket.
Pelosi has contended that the U.S. House will not go lower than a $2.2 trillion-dollar price tag for any new relief aid proposal.
“A skinny deal is not a deal. It’s a Republican bill,” Pelosi told her Democratic colleagues earlier this week, according to the Times.
President Donald Trump has been anxious to get a deal done ahead of Election Day. Trump may hope that signing a stimulus bill into law before Election Day and getting payments out quickly to taxpayers again might singlehandedly get him re-elected. However, there are some Washington D.C. insiders who say, “Not so fast, Trumpster.”
A report by the Intelligencer suggested that Pelosi might be more content with dragging this thing on. Experts say the House Speaker could be waiting out an Election Day, which features a Biden-Harris victory, and a Democratic takeover of the U.S. Senate. That way, in 2021, Democrats can get whatever they want to be signed into law without Republican opposition.
However, critics of this “Patient Pelosi” strategy say it is wrong to play political football while holding hostage the most economically vulnerable Americans. Ultimately, blame for the string of legislative disasters caused by the two chambers of Congress falls squarely on both parties, according to a federal legislator.
“This is a failure of leadership across the board — Democrats and Republicans. [The quick rejection of a bipartisan effort] is yet another demonstration of why the American people hate politics,” said Max Rose (D-New York) a member of the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus.
This special two-party legislative committee was put together in an effort to make sure a package gets passed before the November 3 election. However, the committee’s most recently-endorsed proposal failure occurred late last week.
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Photo credits: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters News Agency