Trump’s Covid relief offers too little to help US economy

Yolanda Curtis
August 14, 2020

However, the guidance says "eligible claimants" are people who self-certify they lost work caused by coronavirus disruptions and receive at least $100 of regular unemployment compensation, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, Extended Benefits and other federal programs.

A modest Trump administration overture on Wednesday to restart talks generated nothing but stepped-up carping and accusations of bad faith.

That's less than the $600 approved in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act rescue package passed in March, but White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said it would put the economy back on track.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday urged the White House and Democratic lawmakers to restart negotiations on the relief bill, saying that "it's time to sit down and get a deal done".

Americans counting on emergency coronavirus aid from Washington may have to wait until fall.

Why it matters: Aside from the basic but profound issue of public officials following the law, the suspect legal standing of Trump's plan could prevent states from participating in the program.

Roughly one in four US voters cast ballots by mail in 2016, and Trump has voted by mail.

Trump said Thursday on Fox Business Network's Mornings with Maria that among the sticking points were Democrats' demand for billions to assist states in protecting the election and to help postal workers process mail-in ballots.

"You would think they'd have a little sensitivity, but so obsessed are they to undermine absentee voting that this is their connection there", Pelosi told a news conference.

The White House and congressional leaders are far apart on the aid for shoring up households, reopening schools and launching a national strategy to contain the virus, which has infected more than 5.2 million people in the United States and has killed more than 166,000, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Congressional Republicans are largely sitting out the talks.

The White House negotiating team of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has not met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in six days.

All indications are talks will not resume in full until Congress resumes in September, despite the mounting coronavirus death toll. Millions of USA workers have lost jobs, and the expiration last month of $600 in weekly supplemental federal unemployment benefits is expected to take a further toll. States and cities staring down red ink with the shattered economy have few options. Trump said the program will provide up to $400 a week in benefits above and beyond current payments.

Trump said his negotiators have resisted Democrats' calls for additional money to help prepare for presidential, congressional and local voting during a pandemic that has killed more than 165,000 Americans and presented logistical challenges to organizing as large an event as the November 3 elections.

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