Mitch McConnell on Sunday accused the Democrats of playing ‘Russian Roulette with the markets’ and failing the American people after they blocked $1.8 trillion stimulus bill.
The U.S. futures dropped more than 4 per cent as work on more stimulus for the American economy hit snags in the Senate. Partisan battles in the U.S. Senate stopped the $1 trillion-plus coronavirus response bill from advancing on Sunday.
A visibly angry McConnell told the floor: ‘Democrats playing Russian Roulette with the markets. The American people are waiting, and waiting, and waiting.’
The Senate Majority Leader, a Republican, added: ‘Our nation cannot afford a game of chicken.’ He set a new vote for Monday morning but Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer objected and it will now be held at midday.
‘Even if Democrats reverse course tomorrow, the vote they cast today will almost certainly cause more Americans to lose their jobs and more seniors hard-earned retirement savings to literally evaporate,’ McConnell, his voice rising, said.
The Dow futures fell more than 600 points late on Sunday evening; S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 were also pointing to opening losses on Monday.
McConnell said: ‘I want everybody to fully understand if we aren’t able to act tomorrow, it will be because of our colleagues on the other side continuing to dicker when the country expects us to come together and address the problem.’
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, pictured, on Sunday accused the Democrats of playing ‘Russian Roulette with the markets’ and failing the American people after they blocked $1.8 trillion stimulus bill
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer heads to a meeting in the office of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday. The U.S. futures dropped more than 4 per cent as work on more stimulus for the American economy hit snags in the Senate
The bill is Congress’s third effort to blunt the economic toll of a disease that has killed at least 420 people in the United States and sickened more than 33,000, leading governors to order nearly a third of the nation’s population to stay at home and putting much business activity on hold.
It includes financial aid for regular Americans, small businesses and critically affected industries, including airlines.
Democrats said the bill was tilted too much toward aiding corporations and would not do enough to help individuals and healthcare providers.
The measure failed to get the necessary 60 votes in the 100-member chamber to clear a procedural hurdle after days of negotiations, with 47 senators voting in favor and 47 opposed.
Democrats raised objections to the Senate bill throughout the day, with Schumer saying it had ‘many, many problems’ and would benefit corporate interests at the expense of hospitals, healthcare workers, cities and states.
The failure of the measure to move forward sends Democrats and Republicans back to the bargaining table. The speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, said that Democrats in that chamber will begin crafting an alternative bill.
Later on Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, announced that without a bipartisan deal in coming hours, he would hold another vote on the same measure on Monday to again test Democrats’ opposition.
Democrats had decried the Republican proposal as prioritizing the needs of Wall Street and corporate America over those of average people.
The move by McConnell came as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin shuttled between the offices of the Republican leader and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer in search of a deal. At one point, Mnuchin indicated to reporters that progress was being made.
After the vote, Schumer said more money was needed for community health centers, nursing homes, masks, ventilators, personal protective equipment and aid to state and local governments.
Lawmakers were mindful that a failure to reach a deal on Sunday could batter already reeling financial markets on Monday.
But Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said that would not rush Democrats into a deal they do not want.
‘Markets always come back,’ he said.
U.S. House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi arrives for a meeting in the office of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday. Partisan battles in the U.S. Senate stopped the $1 trillion-plus coronavirus response bill from advancing on Sunday.
White House Director of Legislative Affairs Eric Ueland and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin walk through the U.S. Capitol between meetings to wrap up work on coronavirus economic aid legislation on Sunday
Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate floor. A visibly angry McConnell told the floor Sunday:’Democrats playing Russian Roulette with the markets’
In a sign of the disease’s spread, Republican Senator Rand Paul on Sunday said he had tested positive. Republican Senators Mike Lee and Mitt Romney said they would self-quarantine as a result.
At a White House briefing on Sunday, President Donald Trump said he still had hope that a massive aid package could pass Congress swiftly.
‘They are very close to getting a deal done,’ Trump said. ‘So I’d be surprised if they didn’t and if they don’t, I think frankly the American people will be very upset with the Democrats because the Republicans are ready to approve a deal. The only reason a deal couldn’t get done is pure politics.’
Vice President Mike Pence said 254,000 Americans have been tested for the virus and slightly more than 30,000 have tested positive.
Trump said he had activated the National Guard in the three states hardest hit by the outbreak: California, New York and Washington.
The Senate bill’s controversial provisions included those aimed at helping corporations, rather than workers, as well as those allowing the government to delay disclosing what firms, states or municipalities had received aid for up to six months.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the leading Democratic candidate to challenge Trump in the November U.S. presidential election, blasted the president’s handling of the crisis.
‘President Trump neglected, minimized, and lied about this virus,’ Biden said in a statement. ‘Stop lying and start acting. Use the full extent of your authorities, now, to ensure that we are producing all essential goods and delivering them.’
Mnuchin told ‘Fox News Sunday’ the package would include loans for small businesses, direct deposits that could give an average family of four $3,000, and up to $4 trillion in liquidity for the U.S. Federal Reserve to help businesses get through the next 90 to 120 days.
A Republican-drafted bill seen by Reuters gives the U.S. Treasury authority to provide up to $500 billion in loans, loan guarantees and other investments in eligible businesses, states and municipalities during the crisis.
Of this, up to $50 billion could provide loans and loan guarantees for passenger airlines, $8 billion for cargo air carriers and $17 billion for businesses critical to national security.
The remaining $425 billion would be available for loans, loan guarantees and other investments for the Fed to provide liquidity to help the financial system lend to businesses, states and municipalities.
More than 14,400 people have died among the 335,000 cases of the virus confirmed worldwide. Nearly 100,000 people have recovered.
While the congressional leaders worked into the night, alarms were being sounded from coast to coast about the wave of coronavirus cases about to crash onto the nation’s health system.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had dire, urgent news from the pandemic’s U.S. epicenter: ‘April and May are going to be a lot worse,’ he said on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press.’
De Blasio all but begged Washington to help procure ventilators and other medical supplies. He accused the president of ‘not lifting a finger’ to help.
Trump urged Congress to get a deal done and, during the Sunday briefing, responded to criticism that his administration was sluggish to act. He cited his cooperation with the three states hardest hit — New York, Washington and California — and invoked a measure to give governors flexibility in calling up the national guard under their control, while the federal government covers the bill.
At a White House briefing on Sunday, President Donald Trump said he still had hope that a massive aid package could pass Congress swiftly
But even as Trump stressed federal-local partnerships, some governors, including Republican Greg Abbott of Texas, expressed unhappiness with Washington’s response. The president himself took a swipe hours earlier at Gov. J. B. Pritzker, D-Ill., saying that he and ‘a very small group of certain other Governors, together with Fake News’ should not be ‘blaming the Federal Government for their own shortcomings.’
This came as the first senator, Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky, announced he tested positive for the coronavirus. Paul, who is a doctor and close ally of the president, said in a tweet he was not showing symptoms and was in quarantine.
Paul was seen at a GOP senators’ lunch on Friday and swimming in the Senate gym pool on Sunday morning, heightening concerns. His office said he left the Senate immediately after learning his diagnosis.
A growing list of lawmakers have cycled in and out of isolation after exposure, and two members of the House have said they tested positive. Five senators were in self-quarantine Sunday evening and could not vote.
In recent days, Trump invoked the Defense Protection Act, a rarely used, decades-old authority that can be used to compel the private sector to manufacture needed medical supplies like masks and ventilators. Officials said Sunday that it would be used voluntarily and businesses would not be compelled to act.
‘We are a country not based on nationalizing our business,’ said Trump, who has repeatedly railed against socialism overseas and among Democrats.
Two days after he lashed out at a reporter who asked about his message to frightened Americans, Trump said, “For those worried and afraid, please know as long as I am your president, you can feel confident that you have a leader who will always fight for you.’
But minutes later, when he learned that rival Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, was one of those in isolation, he declared ‘Romney’s in isolation? Gee, that’s too bad.’
Trump said he was not being sarcastic.
WHAT’S IN REPUBLICANS’ CORONAVIRUS ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE?
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled the details of the phase three economic stimulus package from the Senate floor Thursday
CASH FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
McConnell said : ‘A rapid injection of cash to help small businesses through this turmoil’
What it means: – Small businesses will be given money to pay THEIR rent and workers
– Will be given through a grant that they will not need to pay back
– Cannot be used for owners to give themselves raises or increase their profits
CHECKS FOR FAMILIES
McConnell said: ‘Senate Republicans want to put cash in the hands of the American people’
What it means: – According to the Associated Press individuals will receive $1,200 and couple will get $2,400 plus $500 per child, with some income restrictions
– Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said each household will receive $1,000 per adult and $500 per child within three weeks of the bill passing
LOANS FOR BIG BUSINESS
McConnell said: ‘Entire sectors are being crushed by public health guidance, which is obviously no fault of their own’
What it means: – Industries will receive money and additional loans, which they must pay back, to help with ongoing costs
– McConnell clarified this money is not a bailout because the companies haven’t made any mistakes
MORE CASH FOR HOSPITALS?
McConnell said: ‘This is primarily a health crisis with an economic crisis strapped to its back’
What it means: – The measure will remove barriers to care and speed up innovation, like progress toward on a vaccine
– Fund hospitals and other health care centers
– Expand healthcare workers’ access to essential tools like respirator masks and ventilators