Congress adopts COVID-19 relief package
Legislators have come to a compromise on the Fed’s lending authority, which has been the subject of controversy
The U.S. Congress appears poised to vote Sunday on a $ 900 billion coronavirus relief package bill, after senators reached a late night compromise that removes one of the latest obstacles to the Fed’s powers over the pandemic..
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told reporters Saturday night: «If everything continues along this path, and nothing interferes, then we can vote tomorrow».
«I really hope that we will complete this work today.», – House Republican minority leader Kevin McCarthy said Sunday on Fox News.
The package includes direct payments to people of $ 600 and additional unemployment benefits of $ 300 a week. Congress leaders plan to add it to the $ 1.4 trillion government program funding bill through September 2021. 48-hour government funding extension expires at midnight Sunday, after which the government should close.
President Donald Trump expressed his support for the bill, especially regarding additional direct payments.. «Shut down», – he urged in a tweet posted on Sunday night.
Republican Senator Pat Toomey has pushed for language to ensure the central bank cannot resume emergency small business, state and municipal lending programs that will expire on December 31 under the COVID-19 relief law passed in March..
Republicans have argued that these programs are unnecessary interference in private business, which is politicized by the Fed. They accused the Democrats of trying to extend them to 2021 as a loophole for uncontrolled allocation of funds to the governments of states and municipalities controlled by members of their party..
Democrats, in turn, have accused Republicans of trying to tie the Fed’s hands to restrict Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s ability to stimulate a weakened economy since he took office on January 20..
Toomey spokesman Steve Kelly said the Senator’s agreement with Sumer «cancels over $ 429 billion», allocated in accordance with the March law and unused, terminates lending mechanisms in accordance with this law on December 31, 2020, «does not allow these mechanisms to be reopened and prohibits duplicating them without congressional approval».
However, a senior Democratic spokesman said Toomey agreed «reject broad language in its proposal that would prevent the Fed chairman from creating similar mechanisms in the future».
A Democratic spokesman noted that work on compromise language is nearing completion and a final deal on the COVID-19 package «much closer».
The Senate held a rare Saturday meeting Saturday where Republican leader Mitch McConnell urged lawmakers to avoid last-minute controversy that could delay new funding for Americans and small businesses..
«Americans cannot feed their families or pay bills with fair congressional debate. They need us to act, – said McConnell, speaking in the Senate. – We need to complete negotiations, draft a bill and approve this plan».
«We are within reach», – said House Speaker Democrat Nancy Pelosi during a conference call with her party members, according to the person who attended..