Richard Neal, a Democrat from Massachusetts who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday, said the United States was “on the verge of economic disaster.”
Nevertheless, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sent his party members home, promising a proposal by Monday.
Facing his re-election this year, McConnell has also returned home. At an event in Kentucky, he said, “It’s been a hell of a challenge for everyone in the country. I hope we can come together behind a package that we can agree on in the coming weeks. ”
In a joint statement, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said: “We call on Leader McConnell to be serious.
In a tweet referring to the pandemic-inspired $ 600-per-week rise in unemployment, Pelosi added, “The Senate must pass the House Heroes Act and extend this vital lifeline for families of workers.
The Democrat-held House passed the $ 3 billion relief plan in May, but the Senate is Republican-owned and has not taken it up.
Among other issues, Republicans are debating cutting special unemployment benefits, which they say discourage people from looking for work. The White House has suggested reducing payments to as low as $ 100.
Many regular Americans counter that funds are vital, not only for paying rent, but also for purchasing food and other necessary items.
The economy has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic, which is now in full swing in predominantly Republican states that reopened from the end of May. One of the early hot spots, Democrat-led California is also experiencing a resurgence.
More than 4.1 million cases have been recorded in the United States and more than 145,000 people have died.
Trump’s White House sees economic recovery as key to the president’s re-election hopes. But amid protests against police brutality and racism, and clashes between protesters and federal agents in Portland, Oregon, Trump has also shifted to law and order.
Trump on Friday added a new priority to the relief package: money to build a new FBI headquarters, across the street in Washington from his own hotel.
McConnell’s proposal is expected to include new direct cash payments of $ 1,200 to many Americans, $ 105 billion to help reopen schools and $ 25 billion for virus testing.
The Senate leader’s top priority is a liability shield to protect businesses, hospitals and others from lawsuits against Covid-19. Trump is pushing to reopen schools, threatening to withhold funding for those that do not fully return in September.
The White House was also pushing for a reduction in payroll taxes. Senate Republicans rejected the move, which would take away Social Security and Medicare revenues amid an economic and public health disaster.
“It’s disarray,” Pelosi said on Capitol Hill Friday.
His statement with Schumer said: “We expected to work throughout this weekend. It is simply unacceptable that Republicans have had all this time to build consensus among themselves and continue to struggle.
Amid widespread criticism of his response to the pandemic, Trump is following Joe Biden in most national and national polls. The non-partisan Cook Report website recently said a “democratic tsunami” may be on the way.
But some observers counter that an election held against a backdrop of social restrictions caused by the pandemic, and subject to Republican voter suppression efforts, could give Trump a chance at a second Electoral College victory.