Tweeting from his hospital stay, President Donald Trump urged Congress to get a coronavirus relief bill passed. But that task has become a lot more complicated now that three Republican Senators have also tested positive.
That has led Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to announce the Senate will be out for two weeks - suggesting a deal isn’t imminent. His counterpart in the Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, had just spent a week in daily talks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin trying to negotiate a bipartisan aid package aimed at helping those suffering economically from the pandemic.
Lawmakers from both parties agree on the need for more stimulus. But no new relief has been passed since March, when Congress and the White House approved more than $3 trillion worth of coronavirus relief measures.
The Democrats and the Trump Administration are about $600 billion apart on the size of a proposed package. And the Democrats insist on a $600 weekly pandemic jobless benefit, $200 more than the Administration’s offer.
Bipartisan support is necessary for any bill to pass. But hurdles remain. Some moderate Democrats in the Democratically-controlled House who are running for re-election in swing states want a deal before Election Day, while some Republicans in the Republican-controlled Senate are not eager to pass a massive spending bill.
On Sunday, Pelosi told a Sunday political talk show, “We’re making progress.” But it’s unclear just how involved Trump will be behind the scenes while he’s ill.