WASHINGTON – The leaders of the four major congressional districts plan to meet Tuesday afternoon to discuss a coronavirus aid package and a comprehensive expenditure bill, as Congress attempts to reach agreement before essential aid programs expire at the end of the year.
Speaker of the House
(D., California), Senate majority leader.
(R., Ky.), leader of the minority in the Senate.
(D., N.Y.) and the minority leader in the House.
(R., California) Tuesday afternoon, the first meeting of the four heads of state in weeks and a signal that they may be ready to make the tough decisions needed to seal the deal.
who spoke with Ms Pelosi earlier Tuesday for more than an hour, will also convene the meeting, said Ms Pelosi’s Twitter spokesperson.
The meeting takes place the day after a bipartite group of legislators has completed its work on a compromise proposal to combat coronaviruses. This agreement provided, among other things, for the extension of unemployment insurance and the financing of schools, the distribution of vaccines and small businesses.
However, the bipartite coalition did not reach broad agreement on the most difficult issue: the protection of liability of companies and other actors that were active during the pandemic. Instead, lawmakers released a $748 billion bill that combines many of the least controversial proposals but eliminates Republican supported liability protection and the $160 billion in state and local aid called for by Democrats.
Last week GOP leaders said Congress should break the deadlock by eliminating provisions for state and local accountability and aid, as well as continuing other aid efforts.
Senator John Cornyn
A member of the GOP leadership in the Texas Senate, said the decision to separate the most contentious issues points to a recognition that only a bill with a broad consensus has a chance of becoming law.
I just got the impression that the negotiating team was separating the two issues – they seem to have taken Senator McConnell’s advice and put them aside and done their best, Cornyn told reporters Tuesday.
On Tuesday afternoon, Mrs Pelosi and Mr Schumer had not indicated whether they would be inclined to support a smaller package that makes the funding of state and local authorities unnecessary.
As for the meeting, the White House press secretary…
said that President Trump, who has asked most Americans to do another round of tests, would wait and see what a possible deal would look like.
He said he would like to see those stimulating controls, but his priority is ultimately the relief of the American people, she said. We hope an agreement will be reached.
Senator Dick Durbin
from Illinois, a Democratic member of the Senate leadership who participated in the bipartisan negotiations, said he supported the continuation of the $748 billion bill.
While the battle over these issues continues, we must provide emergency aid to the American people before we go home for the holidays. I support a $748 billion bipartisan package, he said in a statement Monday night.
Congress leaders said they hoped to include the coronavirus aid package in the annual expenditure bill being finalized. The current government funding expires at 12.01 p.m. And Saturday.
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