After stimulus talks broke down Thursday, neither Democrat nor Republican leaders painted an optimistic portrait for the immediate future, putting a massive strain on those struggling to afford food, housing and other basic necessities following the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic. The Senate also formally adjourned, and won't reconvene until Sept. 8.
While possible, it's unclear if or when meaningful negotiations will resume between Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who were representing Democrats while meeting with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Pelosi had held steady with Democrats' demand for the GOP to double their roughly $1 trillion aid package, dubbed the HEALS Act. However, the White House apparently refused to budge. Thursday, Pelosi told reporters she had no timeline for when talks will resume.
"I don't know. When they come in with $2 trillion," Pelosi said. "When they're ready to do that, we'll sit down. We're not inching away from their meager piecemeal proposal." Here's a look at what's happened in the wake of the stimulus talks formally breaking down.
The differences between Democrats’ plan to combat the coronavirus & the meager proposals presented by the Trump Administration and Republicans in Congress could not be more stark. #FamiliesFirst pic.twitter.com/ThtsuQOIAX— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) August 13, 2020
On Thursday, Pelosi tweeted out the differences between what Democrats and Republicans are asking for in terms of the new stimulus package, including funding for anti-hunger and food assistance, anti-eviction and rent assistance, coronavirus testing and contact tracing and school safety. It was these differences led to a breakdown in negotiations.prevnext
Democrats’ latest spin: They’ve moved from a $3.5 trillion, far-left, non-COVID-related wish list to a $2.5 trillion, far-left, non-COVID-related wish list and insist the White House meet them there.
That’s not a reality-based negotiation. It’s throwing spaghetti at the wall. pic.twitter.com/QmHTA0WdMu— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) August 13, 2020
On Thursday, McConnell accused Democrats of "barely even pretending to negotiate," in response to attacks from the left. He said that Pelosi's "latest spin is that it is some heroic sacrifice to lower her demand from a made-up $3.5 trillion marker that was never going to become law to an equally made up $2.5 trillion marker." He compared her tactics less to negotiating and more to "throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks."prevnext
I have directed @stevenmnuchin1 to get ready to send direct payments ($3,400 for family of four) to all Americans. DEMOCRATS ARE HOLDING THIS UP!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2020
On Friday, President Donald Trump claimed that he is "ready to send" payments of $3,400 to American families of four. In a tweet, he stated that he has already instructed Mnuchin to "get ready to send" the money to recipients, but pre-emptively blamed Democrats for stalling the process.prevnext
Colorado has extended its unemployment benefits for three more months in an attempt to keep people financially afloat amid the pandemic. "Based upon the economic conditions of the state of Colorado, and actually, this has happened nationwide, we have triggered what’s called state extended benefits or SEB," Colorado Department of Labor and Employment Director of Unemployment Insurance told the Colorado Sun. The state's unemployment trust fund will be exhausted next week, meaning Colorado will need a federal loan to keep paying unemployment benefits.prevnext
Sen. Max Rose had some advice for everyone involved in the negotiation process, as well as some sharp criticism. "Nobody has handled this well," Rose told CNN, adding that Trump's advisers "are moving the goalposts" and argued that the president himself would reach some kind of deal if he took Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows out of the equation. "My suggestion is kick out the advisers, lock yourselves in a room and don't leave the room until there's a deal suitable to the American people. And if people didn't vote for you, get the f— out of the room."prevnext
Of Course USPS is Involved, Too
Trump also took some time away from criticizing Sen. Kamala Harris to resume his attacks on the U.S. Postal Service. He even claimed that Democrats were sabotaging the negotiations to fund the Constitutionally-protected institution as a means to sway the election. "It's their fault. They want $3.5 billion for something that's fraudulent," Trump told Fox News. "For the mail-in votes, universal mail-in ballots. They want $25 billion for the post office. They need that money so it can work and they can take these millions and millions of ballots. But if they don't get those two items, then they can't have mail-in ballots."prev