According to reports by many U.S. media on December 19th local time, the deadline for the government shutdown is imminent, but senators in both houses of Congress still face huge obstacles in the negotiation of the bailout bill over the weekend.
At a meeting on the 19th, congressional negotiators tried to reach a final agreement on the coronavirus emergency relief bill, which would expand unemployment benefits, increase aid to businesses and send a new round of relief checks to most U.S. taxpayers.
However, after several days of continuous talks, some issues threatened the conclusion of the bill worth about $900 billion, the most striking of which was the debate about cutting the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending program. In addition, lawmakers have not yet addressed the assessment of eligibility for small business benefits, how unemployment benefits are distributed, and the standard for issuing checks of $600 per person.
Before Congress discussed the issuance of a relief check for $600 per person, Bernie Sanders, a Democratic participant, introduced a bill in the Senate on the afternoon of the 18th, advocating that Americans with an annual income of no more than $75,000 be provided with a second round of $1,200 relief check. Senator Josh Hawley made the same claim on the morning of the 18th.
But the bill was rejected by Republican Congressman Ron Johnson, who believes that the alleviation of the COVID-19 epidemic and the national debt are more worrying.
U.S. President Trump signed a two-day federal grant extension agreement hours before facing the government shutdown on the evening of the 18th, extending another two days for Congress to reach an agreement on the relief bill.
Speakers of the U.S. Congress are under great pressure that the bailout bill may not be completed. The current COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, rising deaths, rising unemployment and the government shutdown are all prompting legislators to reach a final agreement over the weekend.