December 18th local time, the U.S. Congress urgently passed a two-day spending bill aimed at avoiding the federal government’s “closure” after midnight and buying time for negotiations related to the bailout bill “bound” to the spending bill.
Analysis believes that the bipartisan confrontation in the U.S. Congress has seriously affected people’s livelihood, causing millions of Americans to face the dilemma of “rescue cliffs”. If it continues, the pace of the U.S. economic recovery will be dragged down. In this case, the two-party legislators on the front line of the Washington confrontation have become the target of public criticism.
The government relies on the short-term spending bill to avoid the shutdown.
As the coronavirus pandemic ravages the United States, the bailout bill, which has been delayed for several months, is already dawning. Congressional leaders plan to attach the rescue bill to a year-round spending bill, which will be used to keep the federal government running normally after the current funds are exhausted.
However, due to the jam in the rescue negotiations on December 18, the U.S. Congress had to urgently pass a two-day temporary spending bill late that day and send it to the White House for signature to avoid partial “closure” of the federal government after midnight, which aims to buy time for negotiations around the new bailout bill.
Negotiators from both parties were still trying to bridge differences over issues such as the Fed’s emergency lending authority during the bailout bill negotiations on that day. The goal of leaders of both parties is to merge the bailout bill with the broader spending bill, so the negotiation of the bailout bill needs to be completed before the government’s spending plan expires.
Earlier, on December 11, the U.S. Congress passed a bill to extend the funding of the federal government by one week before the midnight deadline of that day to avoid government shutdown. Although lawmakers from both parties insisted this week that a bailout agreement was imminent, the situation was similar this time. Negotiations around the new bailout bill could not be completed in time again, so the temporary spending bill came on the stage again.
The U.S. stock market closed lower on December 18th, dragged down by the uncertainty of the bailout negotiations. Many investors had expected earlier that day that the U.S. Congress would again be unable to reach an agreement on a new round of rescue bill of about $900 billion before midnight that day, and the game would continue.
Congress is facing unprecedented pressure from all walks of life.
Pressure from the market, together with pressure from the economic, business, public health and the public, is forcing U.S. congressmen to reach a compromise as soon as possible.
Reuters analysis said that as the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States set a new record, members of Congress from both parties have generally felt pressure to rush to pass a new round of relief bills to end months of “recrimination” and “inaction”. Many lawmakers have said that the worsening of the epidemic means that it is unacceptable to have an agreement to give birth.
“This week we saw record numbers of COVID-19 deaths, and even though we got the vaccine, infections and hospitalizations were still hitting new highs.” “It’s not the same,” said Lisa Murkowski, a Republican senator from Alaska. Time is passing, life is passing away. When asked by the media why Congress had to wait so long to introduce the bailout bill, Merkovsky expressed his dissatisfaction.
Many parts of the United States are now wintering, and people have to stay indoors for a long time to keep in close contact with others, which may aggravate the spread of the novel coronavirus. Many public health experts warn that even if vaccines are already distributed, the next few months will still be difficult.
In addition to pressure from all walks of life, the calculation of political interests has also put great pressure on parliamentarians from both parties. Leaders of both parties worry that if no action is taken, it will drag down the January 5 election for Georgia’s Senate seat, which is a special election about whether the Republican Party can retain the Senate majority for the next two years.
The dispute over the Federal Reserve’s loan authority ignited a bipartisan division.
Under pressure from all sides, the leaders of the U.S. Congress were actually close to reaching a coronavirus relief plan of about $900 billion on the evening of December 17.
In addition to direct checks, the relief package is expected to include an additional $300 weekly unemployment benefit to the population, funding vaccine distribution programs, schools, small businesses and health care providers, and rent relief and other relief measures.
Although the content of the new rescue plan is roughly up to expectations, congressional leaders are still haggling about some of it. According to some negotiators, the new bailout plan may “shid” two of the most difficult issues: funding state and local governments and providing exemption protection for businesses operating during the pandemic.
In addition, according to the latest developments in the December 18 negotiations, Republicans tried to limit the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending authority, which Democrats regarded as “may derail the negotiations”.
Around the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending authority, the new and old governments once again choked in the air.” It is in the interest of the American people to maintain the Fed’s rapid and robust response as we navigate an unprecedented economic crisis.” “Braining this power could mean reduced lending to ordinary businesses, raising unemployment, and greater economic pain nationwide,” Brian Dees, who will be the director of the White House National Economic Committee in the Biden administration, said in a statement.
Larry Kudlow, the current director of the White House National Economic Council, said that the White House strongly supported a Republican senator’s efforts to include a restriction clause in the new rescue plan, which would restrict the use of Treasury funds to support the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending program.
In the negotiations on December 18, the differences between representatives of the two parties on the authority of the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending were seen as one of the final obstacles to the bailout bill, reflecting that the increasingly polarization of bipartisan demands has become a major obstacle for the U.S. government to respond to economic challenges under the epidemic.
In fact, the long-overdue bailout bill could have supported the U.S. economy through the deadliest phase of the coronavirus epidemic, but it was delayed for several months due to the bipartisan tug-of-war.
And even if it can be passed immediately, it will take at least a month for the relevant funds to reach the hands of people in need, which makes many people have to usher in the New Year in pain.