US parties at odds over next coronavirus stimulus package

14 Aug 20

A $1trn impasse between the two main political parties is blocking the US government from agreeing its next tranche of Covid-19 stimulus.

 

The Democrat opposition said it has compromised over its original proposals, dropping its suggested total of $3.5trn of support for US businesses, citizens and public services to $2.5trn.

However it is insisting on keeping $1trn of aid for states, cities and other forms of local government.

The Republican administration has rejected both the overall size of the package and the size of the support for local governments, offering $150bn instead.

Some city mayors have warned they might be forced to cut services if they receive insufficient aid from the federal government.

Senate majority leader (and Republican) Mitch McConnell accused the Democrats of “throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks” with their proposals.

“They’ve moved from a $3.5trn far-left non-Covid-related wishlist to a $2.5trn far-left non-Covid-related wishlist and insist the White House meet them there,” he tweeted.

“The administration has said let’s pass things we agree on right now”, he said, claiming the Democrats had refused to pass anything until the total package had been agreed.

The Democrats said the administration was refusing to make any concessions.

“Democrats have compromised. Repeatedly, we have made clear to the administration that we are willing to come down $1trn if they will come up $1trn,” house speaker Nancy Pelosi and senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement.

“However, it is clear that the administration still does not grasp the magnitude of the problems that American families are facing.”

The US congress, its government’s legislative branch, has already allocated about $3trn of coronavirus-related stimulus spending.

A new report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers said the government “acted with unprecedented scale, speed and coordination, surpassing past efforts to mitigate previous crises”.

Acting chair of the council Tyler Goodspeed said a recovery in the labour market will be “absolutely essential” for wider improvements to the US economy as it struggles against the impact of the virus.

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