This should allow time for U.S. lawmakers to agree on a budget and financial assistance to address the impact of the pandemic.
Congress will consider a one-week bill to give lawmakers time to reach agreement on the negotiations aimed at helping with the COVID-19 pandemic and on a general budget bill, a leading Democrat said Monday.
The Republican-controlled Senate and the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives should take action by Friday, when current funding for federal agencies expires. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell hope to add the long-awaited aid package to the $1.4 trillion draft budget to address the pandemic.
Negotiations did not lead to a final agreement, requiring the House of Representatives to vote in favor of temporary funding for the federal government to allow an extra week for negotiations.
“I am disappointed that we have not yet reached an agreement on funding for the government. The House of Representatives will vote Wednesday to keep the government working while negotiations continue,” Democratic Majority Leader in the House of Representatives Stanie Hoyer said.
A group of House and Senate legislators were expected to present the $908 billion bill on Monday to mitigate the impact of the pandemic in the early days of elected President Joe Biden.
Lawmakers and their aides failed to do so over the weekend. But Trump’s administration is showing optimism. For example, White House economic advisor Larry Cadlow said negotiations were going in the right direction and that President Trump’s administration and Congress were close to agreement.
“We communicate – a lot of conversations are going on. I think we are moving in the right direction. We’re approaching a solution,” Kudlow told The Washington Post.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce noted in a new memorandum to Congress that failure to take action on aid could lead to a “double-dip recession”: when the recession is followed by a brief recovery and then another recession that will permanently stop small businesses from working and leave millions of Americans without a livelihood.
The same problems blocked the passage of financial aid laws for several months, leading to growing frustration among business people, unions, government and local officials, and ordinary Americans.
Earlier in the year, lawmakers voted for $3 trillion in financial assistance, but have been unable to agree on new assistance since April. The emergency aid package, including additional unemployment benefits and a moratorium on evictions, expires at the end of December.