No deal yet on next coronavirus relief package

Democrats and Republicans are still far apart on the next coronavirus relief package.  Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows tried to get Democrats and Republicans to reach an agreement during nearly three hours of meetings Saturday.  Mnuchin told reporters Republicans are willing to pass something quickly to deal with short-term issues and come back to the larger issues but, “The Speaker and Senator Schumer want to have an overall deal, so we’ll be back here working full-time until we can accomplish something for the benefit of the American people.” Some Democrats are also reluctant to give Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue flexibility to use new USDA coronavirus aid funding.

Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow has proposed raising SNAP food assistance benefits by 15% and the minimum benefit to $30, but that has not gotten any traction in the Republican-controlled Senate so far.  Both sides appear open to a second 12-hundred-dollar stimulus payment.

The Senate is scheduled to adjourn Friday.  The House was to adjourn last Friday, but Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told House members they would not adjourn until they pass “appropriate COVID-19 relief.”

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