Senate Republicans and Democrats have left Capitol Hill without passing a stimulus package for the House of Representatives to vote on. That means the House will leave for its August recess without being able to even negotiate on the next stimulus package.
Senate Republicans, Democrats unwilling to compromise on stimulus package
It's looking less and less like lawmakers will set aside their differences and get something done for the American people. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are guilty of being unwilling to compromise on anything.
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Both Democrats and Republicans have several issues with the approaches taken by the other party. One problem Democrats have is with the way Senate Republicans are trying to work on the next stimulus package.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to put the package through as multiple bills, but Democrats are refusing that piecemeal approach, according to Fox News. They say the next stimulus package must be a single bill.
Unemployment a sticking point
Democrats are also unlikely to compromise on the extra unemployment benefit. They won't even negotiate, although Republicans want to reduce the amount of the extra weekly benefit so that workers don't continue to be paid more on unemployment than they did on the job.
Three Republican senators are attempting to get a bill passed to help unemployed workers. Sens. Mitt Romney, Martha McSally and Susan Collins proposed an alternative bill for unemployment benefits on Thursday to provide a bridge.
The extra weekly unemployment benefit ran out last weekend because of the way states pay their unemployment claims. Without an agreement on an extra unemployment benefit, jobless workers will go back to receiving only state unemployment aid without anything extra from the federal government.
The Republicans' proposal would allow states to decide whether to reduce unemployment benefits to 80% of wages or to slowly reduce the extra benefit by $100 per month. The second provision would allow states to choose to put the extra unemployment benefit at $500 per week in August, $400 per week in September and $300 per week in October.
However, if Democrats aren't even willing to compromise on the matter, it seems like unemployed Americans are simply out of luck.
Senate Republicans "nowhere close to a deal" on stimulus package
Despite their squabbling, Senate Republicans and Democrats are trying to show a willingness to do something to help Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic. Yahoo Money reports that the Senate did pass a shell bill on Thursday.
A shell bill is legislation that doesn't include any provisions and then is amended later to add the proposals. The move is apparently an attempt to move forward on unemployment benefits. McConnell told reporters on Thursday that passing the shell bill "makes it the pending business for next week."
"And we can keep talking and hopefully making progress because no progress is being made anywhere else," he added.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters on Wednesday that Senate Republicans and Democrats are "nowhere close to a deal" on the next stimulus package. That means the extra unemployment benefits have been allowed to expire without any movement from Congress.
White House willing to compromise
While lawmakers in Congress are unwilling to compromise, it seems the White House is, at least on certain provisions. McConnell has said that he will not compromise on liability protections for businesses, schools and healthcare workers in connection with provisions made to deal with the pandemic.
He said he would refuse to sign off on a deal that doesn't have liability protections. However, sources told The Washington Post that while McConnell is unwilling to negotiate on the matter, the White House is.
The Trump administration is pushing for liability protections as one of its top priorities, but apparently, it isn't a deal breaker in the negotiations. Democrats strongly oppose liability protections in the next stimulus package, but Senate Republicans appear set on the provision even if the White House isn't.