Coronavirus stimulus bill negotiations: What’s going on?

Both Democrats and Republicans now have their proposal ready for the next relief package. Though both packages are similar on some points, they are still far apart. Everyone is now waiting for both to reach a consensus on the final bill. However, given the recent comments from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, it seems, the negotiations on the next coronavirus stimulus bill could take longer than expected.

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Republicans don’t trust people: Pelosi

It is a fact that Republicans need the support of the Democrats to get the final bill on the President's desk. However, both sides are still far apart.

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One major sticking point between Democrats and Republicans is over the federal unemployment benefit. Democrats want to give $600 per week, while the GOP’s proposal promises $200 per week in unemployment benefits.

GOP’s main concern is that giving too much could discourage people from looking for work. Talking about this, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday said that Republicans seem to have "a disdain" for working people.

Talking to CNN, she said that the Republicans don’t trust the people on how they might spend the $600. “'Oh, they have money to pay the rent, they're just not paying the rent.' Well, we cannot operate if we're not even stipulating to a basic set of facts," she said.

Further, she noted that people are in need of help. The unemployment rate is high, and lawmakers can help them in several ways, including by giving direct payments, “being respectful of them, and understanding their needs," she said.

Coronavirus stimulus bill negotiations: what’s happening?

Talking about the negotiations on the next coronavirus stimulus bill, she said that the congressional negotiators, who are responsible for brokering the new relief package, are currently in the "airing our differences" phase of talks.

On Tuesday, after more than an hour-long meeting with the top White House negotiators, Pelosi said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell "really doesn't want to get an agreement made."

She also had a meeting with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Tuesday. Pelosi described the discussion as an attempt aimed at "airing our differences. There's discovery and understanding on where there might be opportunity or not."

On Wednesday, she sounded a bit optimistic. Pelosi said that coronavirus stimulus bill negotiations “have a long way to go, but we are determined that we will try to find common ground."

She then advanced the HEROES Act, saying it addresses all the concerns, including support for the state and local government, something that Republicans oppose. Pelosi said that Republicans want to open schools, but it is not viable as state and local governments contribute more than 90% of the funding for schools.

“So this is all connected… I hope that they would come closer to our thinking on it," she said.