On The Money: Coronavirus relief talks stall as liability issue foils negotiators | Sanders, Hawley promise fight to secure stimulus checks | Senate passes bill to avert shutdown

Laveta Brigham

Happy Friday and welcome back to On The Money. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. See something I missed? Let me know at [email protected] or tweet me @SylvanLane. And if you like your newsletter, you can subscribe to […]

Happy Friday and welcome back to On The Money. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG DEAL—Coronavirus relief talks stall as liability issue foils negotiators: Senators on Friday said efforts to reach a compromise on liability protection language have failed to make significant progress, putting a broader deal on a COVID-19 relief package in peril.

Senators familiar with the talks said that Democrats have rejected the latest Republican offer to create an 18-month federal shield on coronavirus litigation.

“We have an eight-month impasse around liability issues and it’s proving extremely difficult to close it,” said Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsOvernight Energy: Trump EPA finalizes air rule that critics say favors polluters | Zinke, in official and unofficial portraits, returns to Interior on horseback | Vilsack gets lukewarm response as Biden Agriculture pick from those seeking reformed USDA Bipartisan senators introduce tree conservation bill as climate solution Defense pick faces big hurdle MORE (D-Del.). The Hill’s Alexander Bolton and Naomi Jagoda explain here.

The state of play: 

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerTrump’s political future depends on whether he can change House passes stopgap bill to avoid government shutdown US job openings rise to three-month high MORE (D-N.Y.) argued that a bipartisan group of negotiators were close to a deal on Thursday but that McConnell’s team told congressional leaders that the group would not be able to satisfy Senate Republicans on liability protections.

“It’s an unconscionable position: no relief for the American people unless corporations receive blanket immunity from lawsuits,” Schumer said.

 

LEADING THE DAY

Senate approves funding bill by voice vote to avert shutdown: The Senate passed a one-week stopgap bill on Friday, hours ahead of a government shutdown deadline.

Senators passed the bill by a voice vote, moving the funding deadline from the end of the day Friday to Dec. 18. The one-week continuing resolution (CR) already passed the House on Wednesday, meaning it now goes to President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden and Harris named Time’s 2020 ‘Person of the Year’ US to sanction Turkey over Russian defense system: report Federal government executes Brandon Bernard despite last-minute appeals MORE’s desk, where he’ll need to sign it by midnight.

Though a shutdown is averted for now, negotiators are still trying to lock down a mammoth agreement that would include the 12 fiscal 2021 bills and fund the government until Oct. 1, 2021. The Hill’s Jordain Carney tells us more about the work left to do here.

Sanders, Hawley vow fight next week over stimulus checks: Sens. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleySanders, Hawley team up to demand vote on second round of stimulus checks On The Money: Millions of Americans in poverty as Black, Native American wages stagnate | Jobless claims jump to 853K | Economists warn against excluding state aid from COVID-19 relief MasterCard, Visa to stop allowing their cards to be used on Pornhub MORE (R-Mo.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersFederal government executes Brandon Bernard despite last-minute appeals Sanders, Hawley team up to demand vote on second round of stimulus checks On The Money: Millions of Americans in poverty as Black, Native American wages stagnate | Jobless claims jump to 853K | Economists warn against excluding state aid from COVID-19 relief MORE (I-Vt.) are warning they will use next Friday’s government funding deadline to try to force a vote on a second round of stimulus checks amid lawmakers’ failure to secure a deal on another coronavirus relief package.

“This Congress must address the economic emergency facing the American people. We cannot go back to our families during the Christmas holidays while tens of millions of families are suffering,” Sanders said during a floor speech. 

While Sanders and Hawley allowed a one-week continuing resolution to clear on Friday, averting a shutdown, they are warning about a showdown next week on their proposal. 

  • “I am not one of the members of the Senate who shuts down, does this or does that and keeps you here for the weekend. I don’t do that. But this I want to say right now, I am prepared to withdraw my objection at this moment, but I will not be prepared to withdraw an objection next week,” Sanders said. 
  • Hawley added that there is “no reason that this body should leave next week before we vote on and approve direct assistance to working families.” 

Hawley and Sanders, typically political polar opposites, have teamed up to push for a second round of stimulus checks as Congress tries to wrap up its work for the year, with leadership needing to get a mammoth government funding deal and potentially a fifth coronavirus agreement. Jordain tells us more about the unconventional duo’s mission here.

 

ON TAP NEXT WEEK

Virtual Event Announcement: 1:30PM ET Monday 12/14–Rebuilding the Federal Workforce

The federal workforce is losing senior talent. According to OPM and OMB, of the 2.1 million current federal civilian employees, more than one-third are eligible for retirement in the next five years, and only six percent are under 30. With a new administration on its way, how can the government restore this policy expertise to ensure efficiency and to take on the challenges of governing? Reps. Jennifer WextonJennifer Lynn WextonDemocrats urge Biden to address ‘infodemic’ of COVID-19 disinformation, misinformation Virginia voter registration website back up after outage on last day to register House advances bill aimed at imports tied to Uighur forced labor MORE (D-VA) and Francis RooneyLaurence (Francis) Francis RooneyTime to concede: The peaceful transition of power is an American tradition House GOP lawmaker: Biden should be recognized as president-elect Most Republicans avoid challenging Trump on election MORE (R-FL), David Rohde, former Deputy Education Secretary Jim Shelton, former NTIA Acting Administrator Diane Rinaldo and more. RSVP for event reminders. (https://rebuildingfedgov.splashthat.com/

Tuesday:

  • The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) begins its two-day December meeting.
  • A Senate Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on the impact of COVID-19 on the live entertainment industry at 10 a.m.
  • A Senate Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on expanding entrepreneurship beyond “traditional hubs” at 2:30 p.m.

Wednesday:

  • A Senate Banking subcommittee holds a hearing on the economic competition between the U.S. and China at 9:30 a.m.
  • The FOMC announces its monetary policy decision at 2 p.m., followed by a press conference with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell at 2:30 p.m.

 

GOOD TO KNOW

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