Schumer: Deal is getting very close

Wednesday, 25 Mar, 2020

The long evening of shuttle negotiations came after a long day trying to close the deal.

"At this point, of the few outstanding issues, I don't see any that can't be overcome in the next few hours", top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer told the chamber moments after meeting Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The talks could go late.

"The list is getting shorter, but we aren't going to have a deal today". "I think the American people want it done as quickly as possible", Schumer added, noting that he was pleased with where talks stood on Democratic priorities related to support for workers and hospitals. John Cornyn of Texas said.

Earlier this week, a Republican-backed Senate stimulus plan failed to meet the majority vote needed for it to pass-a handful of Republicans joined Democrats in voting down the plan. They want Open Borders and Green New Deal. If it had succeeded, it would have cleared the way for the Senate to set up a final vote on a stimulus deal.

On that last point, as on many others, the Republicans eventually gave in.

Republicans on Monday accused the Democrats of playing politics with the bill, which they said they had already granted substantial concessions on. "We (Democrats) had asked for four months and four months looks like what we're going to get when we come to this agreement".

But Democrats have said there are not enough controls on how that money could be spent, creating what they have called a "slush fund" where, in Bourne's words, "the Treasury can pick and choose who is deserving of relief".

That frustration is now coming from both sides of the aisle. Only one Democrat, Senator Doug Jones, voted with Republicans to advance the bill.

But the motion failed because it required 60 votes for passage and all 45 Democrats and Independent senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of ME opposed it the first time.

Yet even as the public-health crisis deepened, President Donald Trump expressed eagerness to nudge many people back to work in coming weeks and held out a prospect, based more on hope than science, that the country could be returning to normal in less than a month. Moving forward on competing legislation could delay negotiations considerably.

An hour ago, Senate Majority Leader McConnell said a stimulus package deal was on the 5-yard line.

But Thomas Bossert, who served as Mr. Trump's homeland security adviser, said Tuesday the purported COVID-19 death rate of 1% in the USA will rise "if we prematurely return to open society w/out controls".

Senators have been working day and night to negotiate a deal, but despite marathon negotiations, lawmakers missed their own deadline of wrapping up legislation before the end of the weekend.

Both Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and the top Democrat, senator Chuck Schumer, said agreement appeared close on the almost two trillion dollar (£1.7 trillion) package.

But an agreement appeared within reach after days of intense negotiations between Republicans, Democrats and Trump administration officials. Senate Democratic chief Chuck Schumer mentioned a modified model of the laws might go on Monday. So it would be very foolish if they didn't make a deal.

"The markets are tanking once again because this body can't get its act together", he said.

As we grapple with our new norm, at least for the time being, there are millions of people around the country who are unable to work from home, laid off, or worse, fired because of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Sen. John Kennedy (R., La.) assailed Senate Democrats for stalling a coronavirus stimulus bill on Monday, saying they had made a decision to "double down on stupid".