US Senate leader agrees to restart relief bill talks

Some 12 million Americans can lose unemployment benefits at end of December if CARES Act fails to be extended

Ovunc Kutlu   | 20.11.2020
US Senate leader agrees to restart relief bill talks


US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to resume talks with Democrats over the much-anticipated relief bill that failed to pass Congress before the presidential election on Nov. 3. 

"Last night, they’ve agreed to sit down and the staffs are going to sit down today or tomorrow to try to begin to see if we can get a real good Covid relief bill," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, told reporters on Thursday.

"So there’s been a little bit of a breakthrough in that McConnell’s folks are finally sitting down and talking to us," he added.

McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, insisted before the US election that the Senate could pass a $500 billion relief bill to stimulate the American economy and help the US public against the adverse effects of COVID-19.

But, the House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, insisted on a $2.2 trillion package before talks stalled due to the election.

While President-elect Joe Biden has urged both parties to approve the much-needed stimulus before he takes office on Jan. 20, President Donald Trump has been fighting the election results for the last two weeks rather than attending the relief bill stalemate.

As the unemployment rate in October stood at 6.9% in the world's largest economy, around 12 million Americans can lose unemployment benefits at the end of December if the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was passed in March fails to be extended.

Before Democrats and Republicans restart the talks, however, they have to negotiate on another issue -- approving spending measures for the remainder of 2021 fiscal year to prevent a government shutdown on the Dec. 11 deadline.

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