Congress returned this week and it looks like the House and Senate, led by the abject political posturing of Senate Republicans, have given up on further coronavirus economic relief.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday pushed a fig-leaf package he hoped his fellow partisans would get behind — even as he knew it had no chance getting through the chamber as a whole.
A so-called “skinny” package would have provided a $300 enhanced weekly unemployment benefit (down from $600), some aid for schools, expanded Payroll Protection Program benefits, plus McConnell’s Holy Grail — liability insurance for businesses, health providers and other institutions.
Was the Democrats $3 trillion HEROES Act, passed in May, too fat?
But rather than use that bill as a starting point for agreement, which it could and should’ve been, Republicans spent months stonewalling, only to now offer something transparently insufficient.
Democrats, in fact, reduced their bill to $2 trillion. The GOP, meanwhile, went from a proposed $1 trillion blueprint last month to about $500 billion today.
McConnell’s package included zero state and local aid, zero extra funds for Americans facing looming disaster from inability to pay their rent or mortgage, not even another round of stimulus checks.
This, when at least 11 million Americans remain out of work. When hundreds of thousands more are likely to lose jobs in the coming months as state and local governments lay off workers.
This wasn’t a bill. It was a joke.
— New York Daily News