As the United States government races against the clock to work out a deal for COVID-19 relief, several officials have expressed scepticism over the chances of working out solutions for Americans affected by the pandemic.
The United States has been, by far, the worst affected country in the world in terms of COVID-19 infections, with more than 4.8 million people infected and more than 158,000 losing their lives, according to Johns Hopkins University. However, the 54.1 million people that have filed for unemployment in the last five months has become a massive issue for lawmakers, with national elections taking place in November and the American economy in its worst state since The Great Depression.
Therefore, with COVID-19 relief packages (including a $600 monthly payment to citizens that have lost their jobs) expiring, the deadline for passing new legislation is tomorrow and there isn’t much confidence from Senate Republicans who are on the outside of negotiations for a new COVID-19 relief deal. Failing to do so could have devastating consequences, particularly due to the potential housing crisis that will follow. Many people have been protesting throughout the United States due to the failures in finding an acceptable COVID-19 relief package.
Negotiations will be thrashed through by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). The Senate Republicans that are watching from the sidelines didn’t express much confidence.
Mike Braun (R-Ind.) responded to questions about the chances of getting a deal by Friday, saying they are “not very good” and that he expects the deal will only be concluded “in a week or so”, as reported by The Hill.
“There’s a wide gulf between White House negotiators and Democrats,” he added.
Meanwhile, John Cornyn (R-Texas) said that there is a “50-50” chance of a deal being worked out in time and David Perdue (R-Ga.) said that he is “sceptical”.
There’s a little progress … but it’s not very encouraging,” Perdue said. “If you’re going to get a deal that is this comprehensive, you would already have some agreement, and we just don’t see any agreement on any of the topics yet.”
“I’m not anticipating a 100-to-nothing vote in the Senate this time,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters during a weekly press conference. “It’s not going to produce a ‘Kumbaya’ moment like we had in March or April where everybody voted ‘aye.’ ”
It isn’t clear what will happen if a deal isn’t made by tomorrow, but the Senate was supposed to go on a four-week break next week. However, McConnell has said that it will “certainly” be in session next week.