McConnell hasn’t endorsed compromise bundle – what’s at stake if stimulus talks falls aside

  • McConnell has not approved the $ 908 billion economic rescue package, which threatens ongoing relief talks.
  • Pressure is mounting on Congress to approve an economic bailout and get state aid out the door quickly as coronavirus cases continue to surge and states renew restrictions.
  • If lawmakers don’t approve a deal, an eviction moratorium will expire and 12 million people could lose all unemployment benefits by the end of the year.
  • You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.

Negotiations are under way on Capitol Hill on another bipartisan stimulus package, but it has not yet received the support of a critical player.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not endorse the $ 908 billion economic aid plan that Democratic Congress leaders endorsed last week. Instead, he rolled out a leaner $ 550 billion plan that would channel mostly federal dollars to small businesses and schools. Republicans have been pushing for liability protection to protect companies from coronavirus-related lawsuits.

“It is reported that we are close to a deal. I wish we were,” Senator John Kennedy told reporters from Capitol Hill on Tuesday. “We don’t have our ducks in a row. We don’t know where our ducks are, we’re stuck.”

Pressure has increased on Congress to strike a deal and get government aid out the door quickly as cases rise and unemployment well above pre-pandemic levels. Democrats argue that the dire situation will require a huge spending bill to contain the economic devastation.

“Mitch McConnell is enforcing a half-measure, or rather a quarter-measure, that will leave a lot of empty stockings by the end of the year,” Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, told Business Insider Monday. He added that he was increasingly concerned about “a tsunami of evictions”.

Here is an overview of the high stakes if the legislature does not approve another economic aid package by the end of the year.

Almost 12 million people could lose all unemployment benefits

Earlier this year, Congress and President Donald Trump approved an increase in unemployment benefits to help people weather the aftermath of the pandemic. The federal government has tackled an additional $ 600 on weekly state unemployment checks and has extended regular basic benefits for an additional 13 weeks.

The federal benefit expired as Congress failed to close a deal to replace that amount. Now 12 million people are at risk of losing all of their unemployment benefits the day after Christmas. Many of them are gig workers and contractors benefiting from the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which expires on December 31st.

“I think it’s ridiculous that we’re fighting so hard. During this pandemic, people are just trying to survive,” Stephanie Freed, co-director of ExtendPUA, an advocacy group for unemployed gig workers, told Business Insider. “We shouldn’t even think about, ‘How can I approach my senator in new ways to make sure people don’t have enough to eat?'”

An eviction moratorium ends on December 31st

An eviction moratorium, which was extended by Trump in September, expires at the end of the year. The measure is designed to protect people in all residential properties, but has not provided tenants with cash to make up for missed monthly payments.

Expiration would put between 30 and 40 million renters at risk of losing their homes – and that could worsen the public health situation.

A new study by a group of researchers at John Hopkins University, Boston University, the University of California at Los Angeles, and the Wake Forest School of Law found that at least 10,000 COVID-19 deaths in the United States were due to evictions this year .

Paid vacation is expiring for millions of Americans

Congress also approved a new federal program of paid sick and family leave that now covers roughly half of the American workforce. Small employers are required to provide two weeks of paid sick leave and then ten weeks of paid family and medical leave under the Families First Act.

This is to end and up to 87 million workers could be withdrawn.

The states would return unused state aid funds

State and local governments would return unspent state aid from the CARES Act, even if it has already been allocated for rental support, business, and public health purposes. The law allocated $ 150 billion to states for coronavirus-related spending, but their needs have increased over the year.

The pandemic has torn a huge hole in state and local finances that could be difficult to close without government help, experts say, attributed to falling sales and income tax revenues. The Brookings Institute predicted that state and local revenues would decrease by $ 155 billion in 2020 and by $ 167 billion next year.

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