How far apart are Democrats and Republicans on new coronavirus relief bill?
Senate GOP proposal drew criticism from both parties
Republicans and Democrats are holding tough talks on Tuesday over what measures need to be taken to help the country cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday, four days before millions of Americans lose their unemployment benefits, Senate Republicans announced a $ 1 trillion aid package with the White House.. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell noted that the initiative is targeted and aims to open schools and businesses, as well as protect companies from possible lawsuits.
However, this proposal drew criticism from representatives of both parties. Democrats deemed it too limited compared to the $ 3 trillion pact passed by the House of Representatives in May. On the other hand, some Republicans called the initiative too costly..
The plan provides direct payments to certain categories of citizens in the amount of $ 1,200 per person, the allocation of loans to small businesses and measures to help open schools.
At the same time, it is proposed to reduce the current premium to unemployment benefits from $ 600 to $ 200 per week..
State-level benefits, which expire on Friday, have been a lifesaver for laid-off workers. Democrats called the proposed cuts too drastic given millions of Americans are still unable to return to jobs.
Many Republicans believe high unemployment benefits are encouraging Americans to stay home rather than return to work..
Meanwhile, the number of cases of coronavirus infection in the United States has exceeded 4 million, and the death toll is approaching 150,000. Tens of millions of people were left without work due to the pandemic.
McConnell acknowledged that the Republican proposal is only a starting point that will require bipartisan support. “We cannot pass the bill in the Senate without Democrats,” he stated, speaking at a press conference.
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