Top Senate Democrat says coronavirus bill has 'many problems'

Top Senate Democrat says coronavirus bill has 'many problems'

Top Senate Democrat says coronavirus bill has 'many problems'

Top Senate Republican leaders and their Democratic counterparts in the House of Representatives failed to reach agreement in a rare Sunday morning meeting in an otherwise empty Capitol.

"It's still some elbowing and maneuvering for room as you can imagine, but this is a pretty solidly bi-partisan proposal agreed to by a lot of rank and file Democrats who were involved in drafting it", McConnell told reporters.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin earlier told Fox News Sunday that the bill was created to stimulate the economy over a 10- to 12-week period.

The remaining $425 billion would be available for loans, loan guarantees and other investments for the Fed to provide liquidity to help the financial system lend to businesses, states and municipalities.

The Senate has refused to advance the coronavirus rescue package in a procedural vote with Democrats rejecting a draft from Republicans and pushing for more aid for workers.

They also came as the death toll and contagion confirmations continued to rise - especially in hotspots like NY - and as local and state officials nationwide warned of dire consequences absent more aggressive federal action.

But Democrats held their ground with Schumer calling the Republican plan "a giant, giant corporate bailout fund with no accountability".

He signaled he wanted lawmakers to continue hammering out a deal, and recognize "the need to act before the markets go down further and the American people become even more depressed about our lack of ability to come together under the most extraordinary circumstances". Many lawmakers are concerned that traveling back and forth to Washington, D.C., poses health risks and some have called for remote voting.

Five Republican senators are in self-quarantine and did not vote, including Senator Rand Paul, who announced Sunday he had tested positive for the COVID-19 illness. A second measure, signed into law last week, provides paid sick and family leave for some US workers impacted by the illness, expands unemployment assistance, and increases resources for testing. No national shutdown is planned.

The toll from the coronavirus is mounting in the US, with more than 27,000 confirmed cases and at least 323 deaths, with both figures markedly increasing in recent days. "I think it's safe to say we're very close", McConnell told reporters at a news conference. Now, as the novel coronavirus sows panic in the markets, the president's opponents are hoping they've finally found a way to hamstring the strong and growing American economy.

"The notion that we have time to play games here with the American economy and the American people is utterly absurd", he fumed.

Mnuchin said the aid package would give thousands of small businesses, those with 500 or fewer employees, enough cash to keep their businesses afloat for two weeks provided they keep their employees working as soon as they can and not dismiss them.

Mnuchin said that in addition, most Americans would get direct aid, with a family of four getting about $3,000 in one-time assistance.

But Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said that would not rush Democrats into a deal they do not want. Should Mrs. Pelosi strike an agreement with Mr. McConnell over the Senate bill, the House could use expedited procedures that wouldn't require bringing the majority of House members back to Washington.

He detailed a separate massive relief plan by US financial authorities that would pump $4 trillion in liquidity - a staggering 20 percent of US GDP - into the teetering economy.

"We need to get the money into the economy now".

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