Deal of recent U.S. coronavirus assist evading Congress Republicans, Democrats By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Senate Banking Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington

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By David Morgan and Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans and Democrats in Congress failed to reach agreement on Wednesday on new relief for a pandemic-stricken U.S. economy. However, there were early indications that a non-partisan proposal of US $ 908 billion could gain importance as a negotiating tool.

On Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said outgoing President Donald Trump backed another Republican proposal from Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell after McConnell rejected the bipartisan package on Tuesday.

However, Senate No. 2 Republican John Thune told reporters that the bipartisan plan represented “progress” and “I think it will hopefully be helpful in getting a deal off the ground.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Senate Chairman Chuck Schumer urged Republican McConnell to immediately start negotiations using the $ 908 billion initiative as a basis.

McConnell aides did not comment immediately.

McConnell’s own draft comes very close to the legislation the Senate chairman has been announcing for months, which the Democrats rejected, according to a Republican Senate source. The plan calls for $ 332.7 billion in new loans or grants for small businesses, according to a document made available to Reuters.

“The President will sign the McConnell proposal he tabled yesterday. We look forward to making progress,” Mnuchin told reporters on Capitol Hill.

But Schumer has blown up Republican efforts to expel Democrats who control the US House of Representatives.

“The Republican leader should not waste Senate time on any other inappropriate, partisan proposal and instead sit down with the Democrats to begin a real bipartisan effort to quickly meet the needs of the country,” Schumer said in a speech in the Senate. He noted that the McConnell proposal includes corporate liability protection that is rejected by Democrats.

In addition to pressure, the two parties face a December 11 deadline to approve a $ 1.4 trillion budget or risk a government shutdown as the COVID-19 crisis deepens in the United States.

Richard Shelby, chairman of the Senate Funds Committee, spoke to reporters about the possibility that a short-term extension of existing funds may be required if an agreement is not reached by December 11th.

McConnell, who advanced a $ 500 billion approach to coronavirus aid rejected by Democrats, circulated new bill Tuesday after a group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers unveiled the bipartisan $ 908 billion package .

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in that Chamber, told reporters on Wednesday that he hoped that House and Senate leaders could agree on a coronavirus assist law by the end of this weekend to pass in the budget package would be included.

“I hope that we can agree on a bill in the next few days that will respond to the major crisis at least in the short term,” said Hoyer.

The Democrat said such a move should include money for state and local governments that have battled their way through the pandemic, an idea that Republicans have largely spoken out against.

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