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Sun May 17, 2020, 01:38 PM

Congress nowhere close to a coronavirus deal as unemployment spikes

Americans hoping for the next round of coronavirus relief will probably be waiting for weeks — if not much longer

Though House Democrats on Friday passed a sweeping, $3 trillion stimulus bill built around aid for local governments and a fresh batch of direct payments to the public, the Republican Senate majority has no immediate plans to produce an alternative. Instead, senators are expected to consider a handful of lifetime judicial appointments this week and then head home for the Memorial Day recess.

There’s basically zero bipartisan talk among congressional leaders right now in Washington about what to do next. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have no plans to hash out their differences, primarily because they don’t even agree on whether a bill is needed immediately. President Donald Trump is noncommittal.

While McConnell and many of his members have conceded that another bill is likely at some point, the Kentucky Republican says he doesn’t yet feel the “urgency” to spend more money after Congress has delivered nearly $3 trillion in aid already. Senate Republicans see the next exhaustion of the Paycheck Protection Program, perhaps in late May or June, as a potential impetus for putting forward their own vision.


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