Lawmakers across the US are putting heavy pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Charles Shumer to reach another Covid-19 relief package by Christmas.
The coronavirus pandemic has now infected over 14 million Americans and killed over 280,000. Additionally, over 22 million Americans lost their jobs due to pandemic related reasons, and many are worried about the future as the new year approaches and annual payments begin to creep in.
Senate Republicans are especially putting the pressure on McConnell, and telling him that he should agree to a deal soon, even if it means exceeding the $500 billion price point he would try to stay under for the relief package.
Senator Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Bill Cassidy even presented a $908 billion compromise proposal to McConnel this Thursday as a means of motivating him and other leaders to get on a decision. Murkowski was able to speak with the press afterwards as well:
“People are frustrated, there’s no question about it. I just think it’s imperative we get something done before we leave.”
Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who won her reelection this November, also spoke with the press about the “extreme frustration” from voters that she saw on her campaign trail. “People are desperate,” and with daily new cases in the US exceeding 100,000 almost everyday, the country has quite literally never needed a relief bill more.
Pelosi and Schumer have both implied that they would be endorsing the $908 billion compromise proposal; a surprising switch up after the two initially set the goal of a bill that would be worth $2.2 trillion. However, it still remains unclear whether these two sides will be able to reach an agreement, but if one thing is for sure, the rest of the country will continue to suffer while they wait around to make a decision.
Romney explained to McConnell recently that their proposal would spend $160 billion for state and local governments: “We described how it would be allocated, how it would be distributed, some portions based on population, some portion based on the revenue gap that might exist for a locality, and so forth. So we went through the particulars that we’re describing as well as listen to his thoughts about liability coverage.”
Other Republicans think McConnell needs to accept a much larger package that would provide coronavirus-related liability protections for institutions like schools, businesses, nonprofit groups, and religious organizations. Pelosi and McConnell had their first phone call since the election recently where they expressed that they wanted to pass some sort of relief bill as soon as possible.
Pelosi claimed to reporters that they would have an agreement on the coronavirus relief package by December 11th, however, many Americans are frustrated with the fact that after such an intense election season, the individuals who were voted into office are still doing little to nothing to get this financial assistance/support programs to the hundreds of millions of citizens who are unemployed and struggling while our government leaders argue over how many billions should be given to us.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.