McConnell defends crafting $1 trillion stimulus plan without Democrats

Coronavirus Economic Relief Bill To Provide Free Testing of COVID-19, Insurance and Paid Leave, Approved by US Senate; President Donald Trump Likely to Sign Soon

In response to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, the USA deadline for filing taxes has been moved from April 15 to July 15, said Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Friday.

Those remarks however came before the vote, and the Senate's Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, vented his fury afterwards at Democrats for their "absolutely mindless obstruction" while Americans are waiting for Congress to act.

Democrats continued to press for more benefits to go directly to workers who lose their jobs.

Negotiations stalled despite Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell setting a Friday night deadline. That's the people on small businesses front lines that are sent home with no hope whatsoever and no unemployment compensation.

The measure includes financial aid for ordinary Americans, small businesses and critically affected industries, including airlines.

With the deadly pandemic spreading rapidly and forcing entire states including NY and California into lockdown, Capitol Hill was under vast pressure to pass legislation that injects a historic amount of federal funding to prevent a devastating economic collapse.

Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the phone with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in an effort to negotiate a bipartisan product that can quickly pass both chambers of Congress.

Schumer's spokesman said there isn't a final agreement, and Democrats haven't even seen "large parts" of the GOP bill.

He accused Republicans of trying to "skimp on funding" to address shortfalls for hospitals, equipment, medical personnel and other health care infrastructure.

Coronavirus Economic Relief Bill To Provide Free Testing of COVID-19, Insurance and Paid Leave, Approved by US Senate; President Donald Trump Likely to Sign Soon

"They proposed a $500 billion slush fund for corporations with nearly no conditions", former vice president Joe Biden, the all-but-certain Democratic presidential nominee, said Monday in webcast remarks, as he criticized the Republican plan.

The measures also came as the death toll and contagion confirmations continued to rise - especially in hotspots like New York - and several states including California, New York and IL effectively went into lockdown in a bid to halt the virus's spread.

At the White House, Trump welcomed the stimulus plan, believing it is needed to stabilise the economy.

Trump acknowledged the outbreak was hurting his family's business of hotels and country clubs but said he did not know whether his business would be one of the many to seek government assistance.

Mr. McConnell said the measure they're finalizing bill meets the broad goals he laid out days ago: "It will send direct relief to the American people, deliver historic assistance to small businesses so workers can keep getting paid, help secure our economic foundations and prevent layoffs, and surge more resources onto the front lines of our courageous healthcare professionals' fight to defend Americans and defeat the virus".

"Our bill recognises that a big structural national crisis requires a big, structural response", McConnell said. Beyond addressing the public health crisis, he called for the deal to increase unemployment insurance, expand sick leave, and provide help for small businesses and the workforce.

"The need for urgency has been pressed repeatedly by the president and the secretary, and we're going to work very hard to be incredibly nimble, quite quick, again so that we're in a position where results and relief can be delivered to the American people as soon as possible", Eric Ueland, the White House director of legislative affairs, told reporters on Capitol Hill.

Schumer suggested a deal could be reached, despite chasms of disagreement.

"We're making very good progress", Schumer said late Saturday. "We will do it, because we must do it".

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