Senate leaders compromise on Saturday to end virus relief deal –

Senate leaders compromise on Saturday to end virus relief deal

On Friday night, both chambers passed a two-day spending patch, signed into law by President Trump, to keep the government funded through Sunday, while negotiations continued. The previous deadline was 12:01 on Saturday morning.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said lawmakers were still in talks Saturday over the last stumble: to restrict the Federal Reserve’s emergency powers to Sen. Pat Tommy (R., Pa.) A push.

“Sen. Tommy’s law creates barriers to emergency lending that go far beyond the current law,” Mr. Schumer said on the Senate floor on Saturday. “It will be the hands of the next Treasury Secretary and the next Fed president into a true emergency.” Is about tying in. “

GOP Sen. Pat Toomey emphasized limiting the Fed’s emergency lending ability in the pandemic, sparking opposition to the pandemic.


Alex Wong / Associated Press

Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R, Ky.) Said Democratic leaders and Treasury Secretary Steven Menuchin held productive discussions throughout the week and urged lawmakers to end their negotiations. He did not specifically discuss the Toomi proposal.

“We need to cooperate and concentrate from all sides,” Mr. McConnell said on the Senate floor. “There is a kind of gravitational vibe here in the Congress; unless we are careful, any major conversation can easily slide into an immoral list of disagreements.” Let’s protect against that

Senate Republicans were expected to speak with Mr. Mnuchin on the phone on Saturday afternoon.

Senate Majority Whip John Thun (R, SD) said that work was on to prepare legislative language for less controversial parts of the bill to ease the process once the deal was completed, but it was possible that it would The process will be completed on Monday.

Although the Congress leaders settled within the scope of the relief package a few days ago, they were still raising slogans through final policy disagreements.

Late Friday evening, House Leader Leader Stany Hoyer (D., Mo.) said that the earliest voting in the House on a possible settlement would be at 1 pm Sunday afternoon. Even though negotiators soon reach an agreement, Mr. Hoyer said he would still need time to write the text of the bill.

“We hope they reach an agreement in the near future,” he said. “They have not reached one yet. There are still some important issues outstanding. “

The White House has pushed for a resolution, and Mr. Trump is particularly keen to secure another round of direct aid investigations into homes, GOP lawmakers said.

The president has “clarified that he wants the next round of relief to include a significant number of stimulus checks. White House spokesman Ben Williamson said we are working on an agreement that could be passed as soon as possible.” is.

The package is expected to include $ 300 per week raising unemployment benefits, a second round of incentive checks and funding for schools, health care providers, vaccine delivery and small businesses. Negotiations intensified this week after congressional leaders agreed to waive two provisions: funding for state and local governments, which Democrats and some Republicans sought, as well as liability for businesses and other entities during the epidemic Protection, a top GOP priority.

MPs have said they hope to revisit both issues in early 2021, noting that Democratic President-Elect Joe Biden has said that what Congress will do this year is a down payment on further aid. Will happen.

Mr. Tommy has pushed to include a measure that would restrict the Federal Reserve’s ability to institute the types of emergency lending programs that were authorized in March to curb an emerging financial panic. The move would go beyond the earlier proposal to cancel the $ 429 billion provided to the Treasury for backstop losses in the Fed’s lending programs.

Mr Schumer said on Saturday that Mr Tommy’s proposal, which had only recently emerged in negotiations, was “the only significant obstacle to completing an agreement.”

Mr Mnuchin refused to allow the programs to continue after 31 December last month, saying he did not think it was legally allowed. A nonconventional congress research branch disputed that interpretation on Thursday.

In March, Congress provided $ 454 billion to cover losses in Fed lending programs in the $ 2 trillion CARS Act incentive package for the Treasury. Credit markets hit back strongly after Fed companies announced lending programs to continue credit flow to large companies and cities and states. The Fed eventually bought loans and other assets worth less than $ 30 billion.

Mr. Tommy stressed that the Fed should be prevented from reviving those programs without explicit congressional approval. According to language reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Tommy’s legislative proposals would prevent the Fed and the Treasury from establishing any lending program “similar to any program” created earlier this year.

In a statement on Friday, Mr. Tommy said that his proposal was designed to ensure that after the end of this year, lending programs “cannot be resumed or repeated without authorization by Congress.”

Currently, the Fed and the Treasury are jointly permitted to establish any emergency lending program if agreed. Justifying his decision to discontinue lending programs this year, Mr Mnuchin said that the Fed and the Treasury would be free to resume next year.

The Fed’s chairman, Jerome Powell, has reiterated the same point, including at a news conference on Wednesday, assuring that the situation in the markets should occur in an attempt to worsen.

Democrats said Republicans are limiting the means available to the new administration. “Fed’s proposal to pull back [emergency lending] On Friday, Democratic Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, a member of the Senate banking committee, said the authority would set a terrible precedent, hurting the Fed’s independence and weakening its ability to respond quickly to future crises.

Joe Biden, a top economic adviser to the president-elect, said the Republican proposal on Friday would limit the Fed’s ability to react to the crisis. Brian Desse, who served as the director of the White House National Economic Council, said, “Congress’ good efforts to provide immediate relief should not delay provisions that could jeopardize our future financial stability.” ”

MPs had to work on differences surrounding distribution and eligibility requirements, likely to include a direct check of about $ 600 into the final bill, a period around a temporary increase in food-stamp benefits, and Boundaries, and how to structure relief programs for living Demonstration venues and other industries seeking assistance.

Democrats were insisting on adjusting cost-sharing between the federal government and state and local governments for emergency assistance. Democrats want the Federal Emergency Management Agency to cover more epidemic-related expenses for state and local governments, while Republicans want to score more points on how that money can be used.

Write Kristina Peterson and Andrew Andrews at [email protected] [email protected]

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