President Donald Trump called Democrats “heartless” and accused them of blocking vital coronavirus relief as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the economy and people’s livelihoods. The Senate did not approve new relief legislation last week.
Democrats are ‘heartless.’ They don’t want to give STIMULUS PAYMENTS to people who desperately need the money, and whose fault it was NOT that the plague came in from China,” the president wrote. Go for the much higher numbers, Republicans, it all comes back to the USA anyway (one way or another!).”
Democrats are “heartless”. They don’t want to give STIMULUS PAYMENTS to people who desperately need the money, and whose fault it was NOT that the plague came in from China. Go for the much higher numbers, Republicans, it all comes back to the USA anyway (one way or another!).
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 16, 2020
Democrats and Republicans have sparred over coronavirus relief for months. The Senate left for recess last month without agreeing on a deal after a $600 federal unemployment benefit expired. The Republican-sponsored bill is expected to include a scaled-back unemployment benefit as well as another round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding, funds for coronavirus testing, and liability insurance for businesses, which Democrats largely oppose.
“Republicans may call their proposal ‘skinny,’ but it would be more appropriate to call it ’emaciated.’ Their proposal appears to be completely inadequate and, by every measure, fails to meet the needs of the American people,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a letter to lawmakers last week.
The government also faces the prospect of a shutdown if Democrats and Republicans don’t reach a deal on coronavirus relief by the end of September. The White House wants a stopgap measure to keep the government running until mid-December; this would require Senate Republicans to approve a bill for President Trump to sign.
The Democrat-led House passed The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act in May to supplement an earlier coronavirus relief package. However, the legislation was never taken up by the Senate, and benefits, including a highly valued $600 weekly unemployment bonus, were allowed to expire, endangering the financial prospects of millions of people.
President Trump attempted to bypass Congress on coronavirus relief, signing an order that grants a payroll tax holiday, another that would provide $400 a week in extra unemployment benefits, and a memorandum that extends the CARES Act’s eviction moratorium. These orders are unenforceable, say constitutional law experts, and there’s been overall confusion on how to implement them.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.