Some Democrats are urging Nancy Pelosi to accept the White House’s $1.8 trillion stimulus offer. But Senate Republicans pose a big obstacle to a coronavirus relief deal.

Nancy Pelosi

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The Trump administration on Friday made a $1.8 trillion stimulus offer to Democrats that contained another round of direct payments and $400 weekly federal unemployment benefits, among other measures. It was swiftly rejected and Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly blasted the administration’s plan as inadequate, most recently in a contentious CNN interview.

Negotiations on another relief bill between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are ongoing as President Donald Trump continues calling on Republicans to embrace a large economic aid package.

Yet some Democrats are urging Pelosi to accept the White House’s stimulus offer to try to get federal aid out the door as fast as possible. Nearly 26 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits nearly seven months into the pandemic. Many small businesses, particularly restaurants, are at risk of bankruptcy without more government assistance.

Those Democrats include Rep. Ro Khanna of California, who warns of mounting hardship among average Americans.

“People in my district are hurting. I represent one of the most affluent districts in the country and we have food banks at middle schools with thousands of people showing up,” Khanna, a leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told Business Insider. “I have immigrant families at risk of losing their restaurants and businesses they’ve built for 30 years.”

“We need to get people help and relief,” Khanna said. “We’re not that far apart and the last few things should be negotiated — we should be able to get something done.”

Khanna and Andrew Yang, a one-time presidential candidate, are both among the few Democrats who called on Pelosi to accept the White House plan. “It’s infuriating that it’s October and so many Americans are still waiting on a relief bill that should have been passed months ago,” Yang said recently on CNN.

  Trump says he doesn't 'see any way' of reaching a stimulus agreement, despite Pelosi saying negotiations are nearly finished

Some areas of consensus do exist between the White House and Democrats. Both sides want $1,200 direct payments, federal unemployment benefits, funds for virus testing and tracing, and small business aid.

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Senate Republicans form a big hurdle to a coronavirus relief deal

But any agreement reached between Democrats and the White House needs to garner support from Senate Republicans. At least a dozen senators are reluctant to back any additional relief spending, citing the growing budget deficit. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday he’s setting the stage for a vote on a $500 billion aid package, which will contain federal unemployment benefits and small business aid, among other initiatives.

Michael Linden, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, a progressive think-tank, argued a bipartisan agreement with the White House wouldn’t necessarily increase pressure on McConnell to pass it, given significant opposition among GOP senators.

“The biggest point I keep trying to make is that just because the president has offered a deal, it doesn’t make it an actual deal,” Linden told Business Insider. “This feels like a point that is just completely handwaived away by people who seem to …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Politics

      

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