So after hours of negotiations that wrapped up shortly before midnight, Schumer and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin prepared to leave the Capitol without a deal in hand, but optimistic they could announce one Tuesday morning.
At the White House earlier, President Trump also told reporters that a deal was near.
“They have to get together and just stop with the partisan politics, and I think that’s happening,” Trump said. “I got a call a little while ago, I guess they are getting closer. It should go quickly and it must go quickly. It’s not really a choice. They don’t have a choice. They have to make a deal.”
Overall, the legislation is aimed at flooding the economy with capital to revive businesses and households that have been knocked off course by fears about the virus’s rapid spread. Though details remained fluid, the legislation would include direct payments of $1,200 to many American adults and $500 to children, and would create roughly $850 billion in loan and assistance programs for businesses, states and cities. There would also be large spending increases for the unemployment insurance program, as well as hospitals and
Democratic concerns have focused on a $500 billion funding program Republicans want to create for loans and loan guarantees, with some Democrats calling it a “slush fund” that lacks any oversight because the Treasury Department would have broad discretion over who receives the money. Asked about this Monday evening, Trump responded, “I’ll be the oversight.”
There is little precedent for a program with a similar size and scope. Republicans have said the funding would be handled appropriately and that a cash infusion of this scale is necessary to address a major economic crisis. As a final step in talks Monday, Senate negotiators were working on putting an oversight mechanism in place.
The situation was in flux, and a handful of issues awaited final resolution Monday evening after four straight days of unsuccessful attempts to finalize a deal — including two procedural votes that Democrats blocked.
Presuming a deal is clinched, lawmakers and administration officials are hoping for swift passage through both chambers of Congress. How the House would process the legislation remains to be determined as House members are currently out of session and seemed unlikely to return en masse to vote, but several options were under review.
Unresolved issues as of Monday evening included several under the jurisdiction of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, related to student loans and other issues, according to one Democratic aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations. Negotiators were also working on how to tailor large pots of money that were supposed to be disbursed to the airline industry, state governments and others.
Cornyn described three-way talks among the White House, Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans, and said they were keeping in touch about
The upbeat assessments marked a positive turn after Democrats blocked the rescue bill earlier in the day. This was part of a rancorous chain of events, with lawmakers venting fury about their failed efforts to address the pandemic’s impact on the U.S.
“This is unbelievable,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) exclaimed at one point.
Ahead of the procedural vote, senators clashed angrily over the delays. Some lawmakers had hoped to reach an agreement three days ago, but talks kept breaking down even as they negotiated throughout the weekend. Meanwhile the nation was reeling from the health consequences and economic pain inflicted
Democrats have argued that the Senate GOP bill is disproportionately tilted toward helping companies and needs to extend more benefits to families and
The vote Monday was 49 to 46, well short of the 60-vote threshold needed to advance the legislation for a final debate.
“This has got to stop, and today is the day it has to stop,” an exasperated McConnell said. “The country is out of time.”
McConnell accused Democrats of holding up the sorely needed rescue package so they can try to add extraneous provisions sought by special interests and organized labor. Democrats have refused to support the key procedural vote that would make it easier to pass the bill, with many complaining that the legislation did not include much transparency into which businesses could receive hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency loans.
Speaking on the Senate floor hours ahead of his conference call with fellow Democrats, Schumer insisted he was continuing to negotiate in good faith with Mnuchin and hoped to secure a deal as long as he could ensure that worker protections were included and that the fund for industries had appropriate controls.
“We have an obligation to get the details right, get them done quickly,” Schumer said. “That doesn’t mean blindly accepting a Republican-only bill.”
As the markets fell Monday, the Senate floor descended into an uproar as Collins sought recognition to speak, which Schumer objected to, prompting Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) to exclaim, “This is bullshit!”
The fiery developments reflected rising tensions among lawmakers over the nation’s predicament and what’s happening in the Senate itself; Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) announced Sunday that he has
But despite the acrimony, negotiations continued. The White House and lawmakers were continuing to push ahead because of obvious signs that major parts of the U.S.
A number of states are directing citizens to stay home to avoid more contagion, putting pressure on businesses that are losing workers and customers. Many of these companies have rushed to Washington seeking emergency assistance, and
Even as senators were clashing on one side of the Capitol on Monday, on the other side House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was holding a news conference to unveil
“Democrats take responsibility for our workers,” Pelosi said. “We require that any corporation that takes taxpayer dollars must protect their workers’ wages and benefits — not CEO pay, stock buybacks or layoffs.”
But if the House charts its own course on a competing piece of legislation, it could take even longer to arrive at a bipartisan consensus that can pass both chambers and get signed into law.
The $500 billion in loan programs in the Senate bill includes $425 billion for companies, states and cities, though it doesn’t prescribe many terms to dictate how the Treasury Department would determine who received the assistance. An additional $50 billion would go to helping passenger airline companies, $8 billion for cargo air companies and $17 billion to help firms deemed important for national security.
At the insistence of Democrats, who
The huge bill now under negotiation is Congress’s third attempt to address the
Along the way, intermittent bipartisanship has given way to occasional partisan outbursts, but partisan rancor now seems to have largely overtaken the process.
Jeff Stein and Seung Min Kim contributed to this report.