Big Island Coronavirus Updates

Stimulus Package Talks Collapse in Washington

August 7, 2020, 12:20 PM HST
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Big Island Now file photo.

A new COVID-19 stimulus package is at risk, as negotiations between Democrats and Republicans collapsed on Friday, possibly for good.

The two sides are trillions of dollars apart, with House Democrats pushing their HEROES Act, which would allocate a little less than $3.5 trillion in aid and the White House pushing an aid package that begins at $1 trillion and would go up with concessions on state aid and jobless benefits Republican negotiators have reportedly offered to make.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called a meeting between House Speaker and White House Secretary Steven Mnuchin “disappointing” after Pelosi reportedly offered to cut $1 trillion from the House’s proposal and the White House still refused.

“Meet us in the middle,” Schumer said. “Don’t say it’s your way or no way.”

Mnuchin said the two major sticking points are the Democrats’ demands of $600 weekly plus-up funds and large scale funding for state and local aid.

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“There’s a lot of areas of compromise,” Mnuchin said. “I think if we can reach an agreement on state and local and unemployment, we will reach an overall deal. And if we can’t, we can’t.”

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If a deal isn’t reached, President Donald Trump will be able to issue executive orders pertaining to provide relief, though the scope would be considerably more limited. The Associated Press reported Trump may issue orders on issues like evictions and student loan debt.

The stalled negotiations threaten another one-time payment of $1,200 for most Americans and more than $100 billion to reopen schools nationwide.

Unemployment figures remain in the double-digits nationwide and millions could face poverty or homelessness if a new aid package isn’t reached.

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