White House, Senate GOP try again on $1 trillion virus aid

Mitch Mc Connell of Ky. left speaks to reporters following the weekly Republican policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington Tuesday

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's made it clear that new stimulus packages must include liability insurance to protect for schools, businesses, and other entities that reopen amid the pandemic from lawsuits. The full amount would go to people with taxable annual incomes of up to $75,000.

"Americans should be outraged at Senate Republicans and the Trump administration for wasting months and, at the 11th hour, offering a proposal so weak that it would only guarantee our country's backslide into the Covid-19 crisis", the groups said.

But it would slash the current expanded unemployment benefit from the $600 per week in addition to state unemployment, which expires on Friday, to $200.

The last weekly unemployment check with the flat $600 boost went out in 49 states on Saturday and in NY on Sunday as Congressfailed to approve an extensionbefore leaving town for the weekend. People earning above $100,000 did not qualify for the payment.

McConnell said the GOP package focused on getting children back to school and employees back to work and protecting corporations from lawsuits. Meadows, a former congressman who was the head of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said he is working with Mnuchin and Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia to address complaints that outdated state computer systems will make it hard for the jobless to get their benefits in a timely fashion if the formula is changed.

Democrats, frustrated with delays in the GOP proposal, demanded that negotiations on an agreement start immediately. That was rejected, as was Meadows's suggestion that Congress pass just a couple of the most vital items, such as supplemental unemployment benefits, while negotiations on a comprehensive package drag on through August.

Is there any evidence that the extra $600 dissuades people from working?

Republicans had plans to introduce a proposal last week, but hit delays because of fractures within their ranks. "There is significant resistance to yet another trillion dollars", said Sen.

The package still needs the approval of the Democratic-backed House of Representatives.

In a joint statement late Monday, the American Federation of Teachers, Care in Action, Community Change Action, Greenpeace, and MoveOn warned that if passed, the Republican proposal "would devastate America".

The bill includes money to design and build a new Washington, D.C. headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Investigation - a project that has been debated for years and something President Trump said last week was needed because the existing building, located across the street from one of his family's hotels, is in disrepair.

The memo, obtainedbyNPRover the weekend, warned that replacing the flat weekly payment with a more complicated individualized benefit based on prior income "would take 8 to 20 weeks or more" for most states to fully implement, depending on the formula the White House and GOP ultimately propose. On the jobless benefits, Republicans have argued that federal jobless benefits should be trimmed because the combination of state and federal unemployment assistance left many people better off financially than they were before the pandemic and therefore disinclined to return to their jobs.

When asked about the provision at a news conference, McConnell momentarily suggested he didn't know it was in the bill, then pointed reporters to the administration.



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