As talks on a COVID-19 relief deal remain stalled as of Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called on the White House and top Republicans to come to an agreement.
“Democrats remain ready to return to the table,” Schumer said, adding that Democrats in Congress “need Republicans to meet us halfway,” he said on the floor of the Senate. “We’re ready.”
“The overwhelming majority of Americans” would rather work than collect unemployment benefits, Schumer said on the Senate floor on Monday afternoon, again calling for passage of expanded unemployment insurance. The reason that people need more unemployment benefits is that the joblessness rate is over 11 percent.
President Donald Trump over the weekend authorized several executive orders to suspend payroll taxes that fund Medicare and Social Security, authorize the suspension of evictions, provide federal unemployment benefits of $400 per week, and defer student loan payments until the end of the year.
But Schumer said Trump’s executive orders are unrealistic, lack scope, and will take too long to implement. Previously, Democrats asserted that Trump lacks congressional spending authority with the orders.
They don’t address testing, treatment, and tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic and provide funding for schools, he said. Meanwhile, the orders don’t provide funding for city and state governments, for which Democrats have sought $1 trillion.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin earlier in the day accused Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) of making unreasonable demands.
“If we can get a fair deal, we’ll do it this week,” Mnuchin said in an interview. “If [Democrats] are going to be unreasonable, we’re not going to get a deal done.”
“We’re prepared to put more money on the table,” Mnuchin said. “There are things, as I said, that make sense to compromise—we’ve compromised. So we’re not stuck at the trillion dollars, but we’re not going to go to unlimited amounts of money to get things that don’t make sense.”
Like Mnuchin, Trump said that he is prepared to “meet to make a deal” with Schumer and Pelosi.
“Amazing how it all works, isn’t it. Where have they been for the last 4 weeks when they were ‘hardliners’, and only wanted BAILOUT MONEY for Democrat run states and cities that are failing badly? They know my phone number!” he said in a statement on Twitter.
Mnuchin, meanwhile, described the Democrats’ $1 trillion for state and local governments as “an absurd number” and “not a reasonable approach.”
In March, Congress passed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act in an attempt to offset economic damage wrought by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, a novel coronavirus, and business shutdowns.