Members of Congress left Washington after another week without measurable progress toward a bipartisan coronavirus relief bill. The White House has signaled a new willingness to support a $1.5 trillion bill, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues to insist on at least $2.2 trillion.
Senate Republicans appear to be far less comfortable with a stimulus bill that even approaches $1 trillion. Rank-and-file House Democrats for their part are growing impatient with their leadership's insistence on at least a $2.2 trillion deal.
The primary sticking point remains state and local money. Democrats want $900 billion over 2 years, while Republicans are closer to $100-$200 billion. Other sticking points include money for schools (Democrats want $300 billion, Republicans are at $105 billion with more contingencies), COVID-liability protection for businesses, and supplemental unemployment insurance benefits.
The House is expected to take up a continuing resolution (CR) early the week of Sept. 21 to extend government funding beyond Sept. 30, likely until mid-December. House members wanted to extend funding into next year, but Republicans are insisting that Congress only extend it to December so that the current Congress can have one final say on spending policy in a lame duck session.
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