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Biden, Pelosi, Schumer Blame GOP and Trump for Not Passing Stimulus Package

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Biden, Pelosi, Schumer Blame GOP and Trump for Not Passing Stimulus Package

2020-11-13 17:20:58

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi during 2017 transition (Image source: Public domain)

 

Now that President-Elect Joe Biden is closer to having the election certified in his favor, after his pickups of Arizona and Georgia, it's time to get down to work. Donald Trump may be sulking after his win, but Biden is working with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to get a stimulus relief bill passed.

They threw blame at Trump and Republicans for not wanting to confront the worsening coronavirus pandemic and the failing economy it has led to.

Many Republicans are staying out of the whole thing  both the fight for the seat in the Oval Office and a new stimulus bill, and Trump isn't speaking up about it either. He has not been seen in public other than a required appearance on Veteran's Day and has relegated himself to posting conspiracy theories about his election loss.

Biden, Pelosi, and Schumer demanded that a new relief package be arranged by the end of the year to address the failing economy. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has rejected their demands, while Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), fresh off a surprise reelection, urged both sides to start the negotiations.

For more than a week, there have been more than 100,000 new COVID-19 cases each day. Thursday saw more than 150,000. This has led state and local leaders to initiate more shutdowns, which will only lead to a larger failure for the economy.

The Biden presidential win and the optimistic news of a new vaccine caused the Dow to rebound, but with the increased cases and concerns, it fell again.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said on Thursday that more economic relief from Congress could be necessary to sustain growth. "The path forward is going to be challenging for a number of reasons," he said, while speaking to a virtual panel hosted by the European Central Bank. "My sense is that we will need to do more and that Congress may need to do more as well."

This package has been negotiated since last May after a handful of packages had been released earlier. The House has passed two more packages, but McConnell never brought them to the Senate Floor. McConnell proposed a package that was a fraction of the price, but Democrats quickly rejected it. Before the election, Trump tweeted about the need for a relief bill constantly, and now he seems to be no longer concerned.

Biden discussed the matter with Pelosi and Schumer via phone. A joint statement following the call said that they discussed "the urgent need for the Congress to come together in the lame-duck session on a bipartisan basis to pass a bill that provides resources to fight the COVID-19 pandemic." This would include relief for families, businesses, and state and local governments.

Pelosi and Schumer insisted at a separate news conference that Biden's win on November 3 equaled a mandate for their demands for a large stimulus bill.

"They're engaged in an absurd circus right now refusing to accept reality ... making it even harder to address the massive health and economic crisis that we're facing," said Pelosi during the news conference.

While Trump has not recognized the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, late last month he predicted that after the election, the "talk will be how low the death rate is, plenty of hospital rooms, and many tests of young people." None of that is the case, sadly, with hospitals in the midwest struggling with the number of cases.

Democrats would like the stimulus bill to include new unemployment benefits, another round of $1,200 checks, more small business aid, money for states and local jurisdictions, and an expansion of testing.

"The longer Senate Republicans are playing this sad game is the longer they are denying families much-needed relief from the COVID health and economic crisis," said Schumer.

McConnell has rejected Pelosi's and Schumer's ideas. "My view is the level at which the economy is improving further underscores that we need to do something at about the amount that we put on the floor in September and October," he said, referring to him small $500 billion package that Democrats rejected.

"I gather (Pelosi and Schumer) are looking at something dramatically larger. That's not a place I think we're willing to go. But I do think there needs to be another package."

A December 11 deadline looms ahead to when government funding will expire. The GOP has been working on a spending package for Trump in 2021, refusing to recognize Biden as the president-elect.

Senate Appropriations Chair Richard Shelby (R-AL) said he'd like to see some COVID relief measures attached to the spending bill but realizes those chances are slim.

He said he spoke with Pelosi on the matter, "and I also mentioned a smaller targeted stimulus bill. Well, she's got, her view is a bigger one, you know, so I don't know."

"As far as the big package for everything like that Democrats were doing over in the House, that's not going anywhere," he added.

Not surprisingly House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) blamed the holdup on Pelosi, saying she's been playing politics and refusing to agree on modest relief efforts, such as repurposing unspent small business funds. 

"The only thing that's standing in the way in my view is Speaker Pelosi," he said. "People need some relief, and we can provide it."

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