“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer late Tuesday rejected a Trump-backed $916 billion coronavirus relief proposal that was offered by Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin.
The new Mnuchin plan landed on Capitol Hill late Tuesday and could boost prospects of an agreement, as it shows that the White House is willing to back a $900 billion plan. But it also complicated efforts given that much of the focus has been on a bipartisan group of lawmakers who have been working furiously to come to an agreement on their own $908 billion proposal
The Mnuchin plan has some distinct differences that have been immediately rejected by Democrats. Unlike the bipartisan proposal, it puts forth a $600 direct payment for individuals and $1,200 for couples, which is half the payment delivered by the March pandemic relief bill. And while the proposal would extend federal unemployment benefits, which are set to expire at the end of the month, for up to eight weeks, it would not provide an additional enhanced weekly federal benefit of $300 that Democrats are demanding and the bipartisan group has endorsed.
In an attempt to attract the support of Democratic leaders, the Mnuchin deal would provide $160 billion for state and local aid. And it includes the Republican priority of liability protections for businesses as well as money for the popular Paycheck Protection Program, which aims to incentivize small businesses to keep workers on the payroll.
But Democratic leaders immediately rejected the proposal. In a joint statement Tuesday night reacting to Mnuchin’s offer, Schumer and Pelosi noted it was progress that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., endorsed the cost of the package, but they signaled that the proposal was obstructing bipartisan negotiations underway among lawmakers. The Democratic leaders also made clear that the reduction in unemployment benefits from what’s on the table is something they could never support.
‘The president’s proposal starts by cutting the unemployment insurance proposal being discussed by bipartisan Members of the House and Senate from $180 billion to $40 billion. That is unacceptable,’ they said.”
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