- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that Democrats haven’t been to the negotiating table on coronavirus relief talks since last week, suggesting it is time for lawmakers to get back to the table.

“It is a bit of a stalemate,” Mr. McConnell told Fox News.

He took to the chamber floor Tuesday morning, slamming Democrats’ demands for the fifth round of COVID-19 relief legislation for not being all related to the pandemic. He said they wanted a trillion-dollar slush fund for blue states to be bailed out at taxpayer expense from years of mismanagement.

“Americans are dying. This is not a Washington game, it’s a national crisis. It would serve the nation better if the Democratic leaders would act like it’s a crisis,” the Kentucky Republican said.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, meanwhile, said it was the Republicans who wouldn’t negotiate.

Democrats had wanted a nearly $4 trillion package, but the GOP proposal was around $1 trillion.

The New York Democrat claimed the White House refused to meet them halfway.

“Meet us in the middle. They said no,” Mr. Schumer said.

After two weeks of unsuccessful negotiations, Mr. Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were not able to reach a deal with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

During that time, the Paycheck Payment Protection program expired, making it more difficult for small businesses to try to keep people employed.

Unemployment benefits from the feds also expired as the two parties couldn’t reach a deal about how long people should receive $600 a week after losing their jobs.

Mr. Trump announced over the weekend he would extend unemployment on his own at $400, with states paying 25 percent of the amount after a deal could not be reached on Capitol Hill.

The president also signed executive actions implementing a continued moratorium on student loan repayments, a payroll tax cut for people making under $100,000 a year, as well as an action aimed at assigning renters and homeowners.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Pelosi blamed Mr. McConnell for stalling talks. She said it was the Senate GOP leader who “pushed the pause button” back in May, which derailed progress the country was making on combating the virus’ impact.

“During that pause, three and a half million more people were added to the list of those infected, and more than 75,000 people have died,” the California Democrat told MSNBC.

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