December 14th, 2020
Year-end deadline for COVID relief looms: Democrats face tough choice for a slimmer deal, but Trump calls for stimulus check 'right now'
President Trump called on Congress to include another round of stimulus checks in the next coronavirus relief package."Right now, I want to see checks – for more money than they're talking about – going to people," Trump told in an interview that aired on Sunday.Millions of Americans are behind on rent at an average of $6,000, and up to 20 million face evictions during the coldest months of the year. Shelters were packed every winter before Covid; where will these people go? Many low-income people are disabled and or elderly and cannot just pick up extra work to survive. On January 1st, the eviction memorandums currently protecting renters from eviction expires. This is dire.
Trump also criticized Democrats for not coming up with the deal, saying ‘if the Democrats really wanted to do the deal, they'd do the deal”.The issues that were resulting in the stalemate were Democrats refusing a nationwide liability ban to protect companies during Covid, and Republicans refusing the Democrats' proposals of $150 billion in relief to local and state governments. Mitch McConnell suggested that each party leave those measures off the docket in order to pass the bill. Trump is swaying from Republican precedent with this demand, in a welcoming turn of events.
The comment from Trump comes when a $908 billion proposal from a group of bipartisan senators seems to be gaining support among Democratic leaders.This proposal, however, does not include stimulus checks.As recently as October, the Democrat-backed stimulus plan included a second round of $1200 stimulus checks. It wasn't until the bi-partisan bill in November that the stimulus checks were no longer a part of the package. There is no mystery to what happened; democrats let go of the stimulus checks to try to negotiate with Republicans on something passable. Republicans have expressed a desire to send stimulus checks in the past, but they want a bill that is leaner in other areas. The American people are the ones who need the help the most.
The year-end deadline to pass the stimulus package is nearing, and Congress has been unable to pass another stimulus package despite more than five months of negotiations.
As the deadline nears, the Democratic leaders are facing a tough choice – whether to abandon their demand for the aid for states and local government so as to get a slimmed-down Covid-19 relief deal, or continue with their demand for a bigger relief package and risk the chances of a package in the final days of the 116th Congress.State and Local governments will see the worst effects of Covid in the years to come, but families and individuals facing eviction need assistance now. Democrats need to focus on the real possibility of massive homelessness if relief is not provided and eviction protections are not extended. An event like mass homelessness will devastate state and local economies. While there is much disagreement about how to reach an agreement and pass the stimulus, it is not impossible. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel has advocated dropping funding for state and local governments and the liability shield and work on the areas where both sides agree. An agreement can be reached, but compromise will have to prevail.
Previously, Democrats rejected bigger counteroffers from the White House because the former were pushing for even a bigger stimulus deal.The Democrats' stimulus has included funding to help bail out states who were already in bad financial shape. One example is the SALT deductions which benefit left-leaning states with high taxes would be restored . These deductions encourage states to levy high taxes which is the very thing that is not needed in a struggling economy.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have been pushing for aid for states and local government.Senate Republicans and Trump opposed it saying the money will be wasted by many states and cities.Aid for states and local government has been a key sticking point in the negotiations.