President-elect Biden calls on Congress to 'pass a COVID relief package like the HEROES Act'
President-elect Joe Biden urged Congress at its Lame Duck session to pass a stimulus plan similar in size and scope to the legislation the Democratically controlled House originally passed in May.
"Right now, Congress should come together and pass a COVID relief package like the HEROES Act that the House passed six months ago," Biden said at a press conference on Monday. "Once we turn the virus off and provide economic meat to workers and companies, we can start rebuilding better than before."
Two versions of the HEROES Act passed the house. The final version of the bill, worth $ 2.2 trillion, was passed in October and an earlier version of $ 3.4 trillion was passed in May. Both were held in the Republican-controlled Senate.
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US President-elect Joe Biden provides remarks on the US economy during a press conference at the Queen Theater on November 16, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Joe Raedle / Getty Images)
The stimulus talks stalled ahead of the elections and the two parties have not returned to negotiate a stimulus package. The two parties got close to the price of the deal with Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) recent proposal of $ 2.2 trillion and the White House proposal of nearly $ 1.9 trillion.
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There are reports that the White House left the stimulus negotiations despite President Donald Trump recently calling for an agreement to be reached in the Lame Duck meeting.
“Congress now has to make a Covid Relief Bill. Needs support from the Democrats, ”he said in a tweet on Saturday. “Make it big and focused. Get it ready! "
If an agreement is not reached by the end of the year, further aid provisions will expire, leaving Americans with limited government assistance this winter. Up to 15 million Americans are expected to lose unemployment benefit coverage when the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs expire.
"Something smaller [...] is more appropriate"
While President and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who led the White House side in negotiations prior to the election, offered up to $ 1.9 trillion in a deal, Senate Republicans, who are now likely to lead the talks, support something much smaller.
The latest proposal from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was valued at just $ 500 billion, opening a large funding gap between the two parties.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Arrives for the Senate Republican Politics Lunch at Hart Building on Tuesday, November 10, 2020. (Photo by Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
"Our economy is really moving to get back on its feet," McConnell told reporters in Kentucky last week. “I think that should clearly have an impact on the size of an additional rescue package that we carry out. Something smaller is more appropriate than throwing another $ 3 trillion into this issue. "
Chuck Schumer, chairman of the Senate Minority (D-NY), said McConnell "clinging to his emaciated bill" is a "non-runner," especially given the bill was rejected twice in the GOP-controlled Senate. Schumer and Pelosi said their latest HEROES Act of $ 2.2 trillion should be the starting point.
"The biggest change since election day is that Donald Trump, who doesn't help us with COVID and is against the HEROES bill, has lost," Schumer told reporters last week. "That was an overwhelming referendum by the American people."
Denitsa is a writer for Yahoo Finance and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @denitsa_tsekova.
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