As Covid-19 Cases Surge, Stimulus Bill is Still Up in the Air

Congress is back in session, and even though Covid-19 cases are on the uptick nationwide, lawmakers are still locking heads over a stimulus bill, according to NBC News. Some are discouraged that negotiations have not resumed yet, but Democrats and Republicans cannot agree on the terms. While House Democrats want a $2.2 trillion bill, Senate Republicans are only willing to vote for a $500 billion agreement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said he has not held any “private discussions” recently with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, about the stimulus bill, but is not happy about what Democrats have voiced publicly. The situation is proving more dire nationwide as Covid-19 cases climb, and people and businesses are increasingly asking for help from the federal government.

“I just get the sense that Mitch McConnell sees absolutely zero urgency,” Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, the top Democrat on the Finance Committee. “And in that sense his position is just an astounding disconnect from what people are really talking about.”

Joe Biden called on Congress earlier this week to pass the $2.2 trillion Heroes Act which the House passed last May, according to CNET. It includes a second check of up to $1,200 for each eligible American and enhanced unemployment benefits. However, McConnell would prefer legislation that does not offer direct payments to Americans and is convinced the Heroes Act is too big.

President Trump’s “childish” refusal to concede the election is also distracting Republican lawmakers from focusing on Covid-19 relief, according to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.