Pelosi Takes Heat for Failed Negotiations on Coronavirus Relief Bill

Ruben Hill
August 10, 2020

Democrats on Sunday slammed President Trump's executive actions aimed at providing economic relief during the coronavirus pandemic, saying the measures are both ineffective and unconstitutional.

Initial reaction reinforced the message that both Democrats and Republicans had sent the White House during the talks on a coronavirus relief package that collapsed on Friday: don't do it.

Democrats had pushed for an extension of $600-per-week additional benefits, which expired at the end of July, at least through the end of the year.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has blased the executive orders signed Saturday by President Donald Trump, claiming Democrats tried to reach a compromise with the Republicans on various stimulus measures, including extending a federal unemployment bump.

It can not be done by presidential fiat, although Mnuchin said Trump's actions were cleared by his legal advisers.

In the brief filed on Monday, the companies argue Trump's proclamation could do irreparable damage to US businesses, workers and the economy, and was based on a "false assumption" that it would protect USA workers. "Since Democrats have sabotaged backroom talks with absurd demands that would not help working people, I support President Trump exploring his options to get unemployment benefits and other relief to the people who need them the most".

(L) Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and (R) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) walk to speak to reporters after meeting with White house officials at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on August 7, 2020.

Democrats say that will provide little immediate relief.

Mnuchin and Meadows told reporters at that point that they'd advise Trump to go ahead with executive orders, the content of which they'd been floating for days. "Congress has the power to tax, not the President, whose constitutional duty and power only extends to collecting taxes", he adds.

In Minnesota, Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove said his agency is "awaiting further guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor". Many Republicans have expressed concern that a $600 weekly benefit, on top of existing state benefits, gives people an incentive to stay unemployed. Most of the states, Mnuchin said, "haven't even used half of the money".

But under Trump's plan, the $400 a week requires a state to commit to providing $100.

The total cost is also in question.

The Trump campaign has made similar criticisms of Biden, drawing on some of his positions from decades in the Senate to argue that he had advocated cutting Social Security.

"Most states will take months to implement it because it's brand-new; it's sort of put together with spit and paste", he added. How many people would receive the benefit and how long it might take to arrive were open questions. Employers may wish to continue withholding taxes or stop withholding during the period, which would mean employees could potentially owe money down the road. Lawmakers also face a September 30 deadline to renew government funding, setting up a hard deadline to agree on a wide array of spending or risk a partial government shutdown weeks before the election. Trump has stated, incorrectly, that Democrats are trying to include it in negotiations for a stimulus package.

Democratic strategist Adam Parkhomenko wrote, "Nice of Chuck Todd to spend the morning reminding everyone why he got demoted", referring to MSNBC recently moving his "MTP Daily" show to a less-coveted timeslot. Or will they acknowledge those actions for what they are-an ad-hoc workaround to what should rightly be done by legislation-and come back to the table to hammer out a deal at last?

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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