U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives for a news conference with other Republican leaders at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., December 8, 2020. Kevin Dietsch/Pool via REUTERS

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

President Donald Trump’s administration revealed a $916 billion stimulus plan that includes $600 checks to most Americans but leaves out a partial restoration of pandemic jobless benefits. That was enough to draw the ire of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York), who blasted the plan in favor of a bipartisan proposal that extends the enhanced unemployment benefits at $300 a week for four months. 

Republican leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, back the $600 stimulus checks, but progressive Democrats, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont), pushed for $1,200 checks. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who came up with the plan, said he spoke with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and offered a package even bigger than the bipartisan $908 billion COVID-19 relief package. 

Amid the flurry of arguing and number-tossing from both sides, some details of the plans emerged Wednesday. In addition to the unemployment benefits, the $908 billion bipartisan proposal included $300 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, $240 billion in aid for state and local governments and a moratorium on COVID-19 liability lawsuits to allow states enough time to design their own laws. Mnuchin’s $916 billion plan is similar in that it includes local and state funding, liability protections and money for paycheck protection. It does not include the unemployment benefits but does package $600 stimulus checks to make up for that.

Given that Congress has a week to approve a package, McConnell argued to set aside liability protections and state and local funding “knowing full well we’ll be back at this after the first of the year.”

“Leaving here without a COVID relief package cannot happen,” the Kentucky Republican said

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of articles showing different viewpoints on the topic.

As coronavirus surges, countries spend more on economic aid. But not the U.S. – NBC News – 12/9/2020
Wealthy nations across Europe are facing a major surge in new infections too, as is Canada. But unlike their economic peers, elected leaders in the U.S. have left citizens to face the current crisis without any additional financial cushion from their government.

Confusion grips Capitol amid flurry of stimulus plans – Politico – 12/9/2020
In the span of an afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested dropping discussions on the two biggest sticking points. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin offered a new proposal to Speaker Nancy Pelosi. A bipartisan group of senators is still working to finalize language on a $908 billion package. And President Donald Trump endorsed new stimulus checks.

How Pandemic Aid Attracted Hordes of Gleeful and Gutsy Scammers – New York Times – 12/9/2020
So far, the Justice Department has brought criminal charges against more than 80 people accused of stealing at least $127 million from the relief program, but there’s far more to uncover. The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis said it had identified more than $4 billion in potentially improper loans, and some bankers believe the total will be much higher.

‘Schizophrenic’: McConnell Tears Into Pelosi, Democrats For Continuing To Block COVID-19 ReliefDaily Caller – 12/9/2020
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Democrats for continuing to block COVID-19 relief funding, as Pelosi shut down another offer Tuesday night from Republicans and the White House.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of tweets showing different viewpoints on the topic.

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