Coronavirus relief package deal drags until Sept. as Senate leaves town

There is bad news for those waiting for the coronavirus stimulus package. Hopes of any deal this week crashed as there were hardly any talks on Thursday. Moreover, there is unlikely to be any coronavirus relief package deal this month as well. This is because the Senate went on recess after concluding the session yesterday.

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Senate leaves for recess

The Senate wrapped up the session on Thursday afternoon and left for recess. They are not expected to return this month unless negotiators reach a consensus on the next relief package. It must be noted that the House has already left and won’t be returning this month, unless needed.

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The Senate was scheduled to go on a month-long recess from August 7. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, kept the Senate in session for this week in hopes of striking a coronavirus relief package deal and giving some more time to the negotiators.

However, with talks collapsing last week and again on Thursday, the Senators went off for the recess. In case negotiators reach a consensus on the relief package and voting is needed to get a bill through, the Senate would be recalled. A 24-hour notice needs to be given to the Senators to get back to Washington.

Over the next two weeks, the parties’ 2020 political conventions will take up most of the time of the politicians. After they return next month, and if no deal is reached this month, the lawmakers will have to take up the relief package while trying to avoid the government shutdown by September 30.

Why no coronavirus relief package deal yet?

The developments, so far, this week suggests that there won’t be any new developments this month.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was hopeful of a deal this week, but the only talks that actually took place was a phone call between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, which again resulted in an impasse.

“We are miles apart in our values,” Pelosi said on Thursday. “Perhaps you mistook them for somebody who gave a damn. That isn’t the case. This is very far apart.”

The two sides are currently trillions of dollars apart on the stimulus package, as well as differ on several key provisions, including extending federal unemployment benefits, aid to states and local governments and more.

Earlier on Thursday, Larry Kudlow, the White House economic advisor, told CNBC that Democrats are asking for “too much money.”

McConnell also slammed Pelosi’s demand for increasing the price tag of the proposal by $1 trillion. “She calls this meeting in the middle? … That’s not negotiating. That’s throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks,” he said.

When GOP Sen. Pat Roberts was asked on Thursday if a coronavirus relief package deal could come before September, the Kansas Senator told CNN, “An actual law? I don’t know. Maybe that’s too much to ask.”

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