All four members of the congressional leadership met with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Sunday morning, still working toward the next coronavirus stimulus bill impeached president Donald Trump is demanding be on his desk Monday. That is not a realistic timeline, but at least Mitch McConnell is finally recognizing that “urgent” means not taking weekends to politic back in Kentucky.
As of Sunday morning, Democrats have reportedly secured agreement on a $250 billion for state unemployment programs and $100 billion for hospitals. That’s in addition to the $250 billion Republicans want for sending out $1,200 to many adults—the middle class, and $500 or $600 per child. That’s still a one-time payment that Republicans are now calling a “bridge.” But Republicans are also insisting on a massive $400 billion for corporate bailouts, up from $150 billion as originally proposed. The lack of strings, and the singular control over that payout by Mnuchin is not acceptable to Democrats, as is a refusal by Republicans to add strong worker protections as a condition of the corporate bailouts.
One Democrat details the problems with the Republican bill as of now: no strong worker protections, with language that says corporations must keep employees “to the extent possible,” allowing them to keep bailout money and still fire workers, the Democrats would offer loan forgiveness to companies that keep at minimum of 90% of employees; the corporate bailout fund as “virtually no restraints,” is all up to Mnuchin to determine which means the Trump Organization could be getting bailed out with these funds by the Trump administration, as if he hasn’t profited enough off the taxpayers at this point; very weak buybacks restrictions” to keep corporations from using any of the funds to buyback stocks rather than pump money into operating expenses and those restrictions that can be waived by Mnuchin; they would impose just a 2 year limit on corporations increasing executive compensation; the assistance to airlines is all in loans rather than grants, which could result in tens of thousands of layoffs (the industry unions want grants). “We are the ones who are on the front lines fighting the virus,” Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, told the Washington Post. “Our entire economy depends on relief focused on workers. We must keep everyone in their job and connected to their health care.”
As of Sunday morning, Pelosi says she’s not on board. “From my standpoint, we’re apart,” she told reporters. Schumer concurs. “I’m just going to tell you that we need a bill that puts workers first, not corporations,” he told reporters.
There’s still a scheduled cloture vote in the Senate at 3:00 PM ET Sunday.