With the elections over and results out, stimulus talks are expected to resume soon. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already announced that a stimulus package is their number one priority. However, for the deal on the coronavirus stimulus package and checks, the Democrats and Republicans need to resolve their differences. There are five sticking points on which the two sides are unlikely to agree on.
Coronavirus stimulus checks: sticking points between Democrats, Republicans
The very first issue that the two sides are unlikely to agree on is the amount for federal unemployment benefits. Though the two sides agree on the need for boosting unemployment benefits, they differ on the amount.
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Democrats are demanding $600 per week in unemployment checks. Republicans, however, want a lower amount of about $200 per week. A recent report from The Washington Post notes that some Senate Republicans and White House advisers could consider raising the benefit to $300 or $400 per week.
Another major sticking point between the two sides is funding for state and local governments. Trump has been against such funding for the states, calling it a bailout for the badly run states by Democrats.
However, Democrats are in favor of such funds, arguing that it would help the states that have used their funds to tackle the pandemic. Democrats asked for $1 trillion in aid for states and local government in the HEROES Act, but the amount has been revised significantly in their latest proposal.
With the Trump administration now expected to remain on the sidelines, it will be interesting to see the Senate Republicans’ stance on this sticking point.
These differences also remain
Liability protection from COVID-19-related lawsuits is also a point of difference between the two sides. McConnell has long been advocating for liability protections, and even said that a bill without such a provision wouldn’t pass the Senate.
Democrats are against it, arguing that it could encourage negligent behavior among businesses. They, however, have softened their stance on the matter lately.
"I think that there is a balance that can be struck, but it isn't the McConnell language," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last month.
Funding for coronavirus testing, safety precautions and contact tracing has also been a sticking point in the negotiations. Democrats want their language and funding amount in the bill.
Some progress was made last month over the matter, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin even promised that he wouldn’t allow the issue to stall the negotiations. However, as of now, the two sides haven’t yet reached a consensus on this provision.
Republicans and Democrats have gone back and forth with tax credits as well. Though the two sides agree that it is an effective solution to offer relief to Americans, they have clashed over the particulars.