President Donald Trump’s administration returned to confusing negotiations on Capitol Hill Tuesday over a COVID-19 assistance package and presented a $ 916 billion plan to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in which it they would make direct payments of $ 600 to most Americans.
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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin presented the proposal to Pelosi on Tuesday afternoon, the official said in a statement. Mnuchin did not elaborate on details but the Republican leader in the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, said that the proposal includes a direct payment of $ 600 to individuals and $ 1,200 to couples, equivalent to half of what was provided with the initiative of aid by the pandemic approved in March.
Mnuchin reached out to Pelosi after speaking by phone with top Republican leaders in Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who continues to disagree with Democrats over COVID-19 assistance.
McConnell had previously proposed setting aside a Democratic priority – assisting state and local governments – in exchange for removing a shield against negligence lawsuits related to COVID-19. Democrats rejected the idea, claiming McConnell was undermining the efforts of a bipartisan group of Senate negotiators and reneging on previous statements that state and local assistance would perhaps have to be an element of the COVID-19 assistance agreement because of the Democratic control of the Lower House.
Senior Republicans disagree with direct payments, saying they are expensive and involve too much assistance for people who don’t need it. Democrats generally accept the idea.
“Right now we are dealing with troubled families, bankrupt businesses, healthcare workers, and we don’t have a stimulus check for every person, regardless of need,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine and leading a bipartisan group demanding a $ 908 billion pact.
Mnuchin’s $ 916 billion proposal, talks between top senators, and changing demands from the White House add to the tangled and confusing prospects for a COVID-19 relief plan.
The group of moderates, led by Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Collins, is trying to rally support from lawmakers from both parties for the $ 908 billion initiative.