After a tense 48 hours in which last-minute hang-ups threatened to derail a largely settled agreement, Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats found a compromise on the last issue separating them. Will the bill pass in time for those facing a loss of unemployment benefits?
A midnight agreement between Senate GOP and Senate Democrats on coronavirus relief legislation ended a stalemate that forced passage of a 2-day stop-gap government funding bill on Friday.
- The final snag was over the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending powers established in the CARES Act, which will be curtailed and leftover funding moved to offset the cost of the proposed relief bill.
- Before breaking the logjam, Democrats accused Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa) of trying to handcuff the incoming Biden Administration by restricting the Federal Reserves’ lending capability.
- The relief bill will in all likelihood be packaged together with a government funding bill that has to pass before 12AM Monday.
- Likely to be included in the bill is a $600 stimulus payment for most Americans, half what was provided in the CARES Act.
- Roll Call reported on friction between the White House and Democrats as well as Republicans in Congress on tax deductions for companies who used Paycheck Protection Funds.
- It is likely that even with a deal struck in time, many Americans will experience at least a delay in unemployment or other coronavirus-related benefits.
- The Washington Post characterized Sen Toomey’s efforts as the major impasse and relied on quotes claiming his proposal was an attempt to tank the economy.
- Huffington Post framed the agreement as Sen. Toomey and Republicans relenting to accept Democrat terms.
- Vox’s explanation of the Federal Reserve’s lending programs suggests an amount of disingenuousness on the part of Senate Republicans in their efforts to curb the Fed.
- The Wall Street Journal’s report emphasized bipartisan agreement that Toomey’s proposal would not prevent the Federal Reserve from instituting new programs if funding came from a different source.
- Fox News’ reporting was more sympathetic to Toomey’s cause, quoting Toomey’s office calling the compromise a “an unqualified victory for taxpayers.”
- Charles Gasparino wrote in the New York Post’s opinion section that continued COVID-19 spending will exacerbate budget deficit and national debts woes.
- Several Congressmen decried the last-minute, deadline-pushing nature of Congress the current situation has demonstrated.
© Dallas Gerber, 2020