“If we let things that are going to expire [actually] expire in December, you are truly going to have widespread hardship,” warned Maya MacGuineas, the president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which estimated 25 aid programs from Congress and the White House are set to expire without Washington action. That’s on top of a slew of other annual tax and spending provisions that still have not been renewed in 2020.
“All the bad things we were worried would happen — but were successfully addressed in the first round of bills — could hit at once,” she said. “It would be blatant neglect to allow all these things to expire.”
The looming deadlines have grown all the more pressing amid fresh signs that the U.S. economy is backsliding as the pandemic continues to worsen. The country added only 245,000 jobs in November, according to new federal data released Friday, marking the slowest month of growth since the recovery started this summer. The dour figures arrived as states including California started instituting new restrictions on businesses and public gatherings last week amid a meteoric rise in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
The new decline has galvanized Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill in recent days, resulting in the first major bipartisan stimulus compromise in months. The new $908 billion package outlined in the Senate includes some of Democrats’ long-sought priorities, including enhanced unemployment aid and a fresh injection of cash for cities and states that are suffering financially. It also puts new money behind Republicans’ push to bolster small businesses’ bottom lines and protect a wide array of corporate entities from coronavirus-related lawsuits.
The bipartisan deal has managed to unite the two parties in rare, early accord. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) spoke about the matter last week, and McConnell exited the conversation expressing a belief that both sides are “interested in getting an outcome” — though he has also proposed a more scaled-back stimulus plan of his own. President-elect Joe Biden also has encouraged lawmakers to broker the deal, stressing in a speech Friday that the “future will be very bleak” unless Congress acts swiftly.
As the talks have progressed, a wide array of groups representing restaurants, retailers, airlines, hotels and local governments lent their voices to the last-minute push. Roughly 300 associations — belonging to the Covid Relief Now Coalition — wrote Congress on Friday to call on them to adopt a compromise before the end of the year and build on their progress later, warning the economic consequences of continued inaction could be vast.
“Our country can’t wait until 2021,” they wrote.
The government’s $2 trillion stimulus plan, the Cares Act, greatly boosted jobless assistance: It authorized an extra 13 weeks of aid, increased federal funding for benefits,…
Go to the news source: Stimulus talks come as numerous coronavirus relief programs are set to expire