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As Senate Holds Up Aid, Democrats Seek Another $750B

Mnuchin negotiates with GOP leaders on package
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 16, 2020 7:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – With an urgency unseen since the Great Recession, Congress is rushing to develop a sweeping economic lifeline for American households and businesses capsized by the coronavirus outbreak. Democrats said at least $750 billion would be needed, the AP reports. "We will need big, bold, urgent federal action to deal with this crisis," Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Monday. Republicans did not object, as a roster of America's big and small industries lined up for aid. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he wants a comprehensive approach with "significant steps" for the economy, particularly Main Street businesses. Senators had returned to an emptied-out US Capitol, clear of tourists or House members, to confront an even more dire situation than the one they left for a long weekend, before Trump declared a national emergency.

Stuck in the Senate is the aid package approved Saturday by the House, with sick pay, free testing and emergency food. Some Republicans want changes, and the House has technical corrections to make. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who negotiated the package with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, arrived late Monday on Capitol Hill to confer with Senate GOP leaders, saying they were trying to fix the hangup and turn to next steps. The House, Senate and White House agree the pending bill is not nearly enough. The Chamber of Commerce called Monday for legislation including a three-month cancellation of the taxes companies pay to support Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance, for example. The Democrats' plan would boost hospital capacity, unemployment insurance and other direct aid for households, businesses and the health care industry. (Mitt Romney wants a $1,000 check for every American.)


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