Democrats urge immediate negotiations on Covid relief bill

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Senior Democrats, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, have signaled willingness to embrace a trimmed-down Covid-19 relief bill, urging Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to join negotiations.

“In the spirit of compromise we believe the bipartisan framework introduced by Senators yesterday should be used as the basis for immediate bipartisan, bicameral negotiations,” Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement on Wednesday, referring to a $908 billion bipartisan bill.

“Of course, we and others will offer improvements, but the need to act is immediate and we believe that with good-faith negotiations we could come to an agreement,” the statement added.

The Democrats-controlled House of Representatives passed a $2.2 trillion bill in October, but Senate Republicans have recently been pushing for a $500 billion package, reports Xinhua news agency.

On Tuesday, McConnell had rejected the $908 billion bipartisan plan after its release and signaled that he wanted to tie coronavirus aid to a government funding bill that needs to be approved by December 11.

“Families all across the country are experiencing the unthinkable, unbearable losses of their loved ones and many are falling into financial ruin because of the economic fallout of the pandemic,” Pelosi and Schumer further said in the joint statement.

“Economists are warning the US economy will fall into double-dip recession without additional federal relief from Congress,.

“It’s time for Leader McConnell to sit down with Democrats to finally begin a true, bipartisan effort to meet the needs of the country,” they added.

Later in the day, McConnell in a tweet argued that Republicans have spent months proposing more Covid-19 relief.

“I hope Democrats will finally let us get a bipartisan outcome soon,” said the Senate Republican leader.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, among others, has repeatedly called for more fiscal stimulus to boost the virus-ravaged economy over the next few months.

“The risk of overdoing it is less than the risk of under doing it,” Powell said at a hearing before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Tuesday.

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