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article imageWhile Congress refuses to work together, the country suffers

By Karen Graham     Nov 21, 2020 in Politics
Washington - Between now and the end of the year, with time off for holidays, lawmakers in Congress have just 15 business days to accomplish anything. If Congress does not act now, an omnibus spending bill and any coronavirus relief won't be seen until after January.
With coronavirus cases spiking across the country, and deaths increasing on a daily basis, Americans from all walks of life are suffering unimaginable;e hardships, from being laid off to being unable to pay the rent. Many millions more are relying on food banks to feed their families.
Since March, over 40 million people have enjoyed suspended student loan payments; scheduled to end on January 1, 2021. Additionally, a number of federal and state programs geared toward providing unemployment benefits for independent contractors and the self-employed will end at the same time.
A CDC moratorium on state evictions is also set to end on January 1, according to Congress could pass legislation to extend the moratorium. Tens of millions could face evictions because of rent issues.
US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was under intense pressure to guide the upper chamber of C...
US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was under intense pressure to guide the upper chamber of Congress into agreement on a trillion-dollar rescue package for workers and businesses hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic
Mandel NGAN, AFP/File
What is Congress doing?
On Thursday, Republican staffers said that discussions are going on regarding the omnibus spending bill that has to be signed before December 11 to keep the government from shutting down. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows called the omnibus bill a “high priority,” but says he “can’t guarantee” that it will happen" in time to avert a shutdown.
One bright spot is that both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated Wednesday that they support an omnibus spending bill that will fund the government through next year, not a continuing resolution that simply keeps the lights on in the short term, reports Forbes.
The Senate's proposed Omni bill is a $1.4 trillion package consisting of 12 separate bills that would significantly boost funding for health research, NASA, and veteran’s programs and allocate nearly $2 billion for a border wall. However, a number of Democratic Senators oppose the bill because it does not contain coronavirus relief.
US House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer take part in a news conferenc...
US House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer take part in a news conference August 7, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington over the failed talks with the Trump administration on a major relief package
While lawmakers are hopeful that the omnibus bill will be ready on time, it’s not certain whether President Donald Trump will sign it. He has used government shutdowns for political purposes before, and with his obsession over what he claims was a "rigged election," it is possible another shutdown could happen.
Literally, months have gone by since Congress has had any meaningful action on authorizing new financial relief to combat the recession inflicted by the coronavirus. This lack of action from Congress has left millions of Americans in a financially precarious position, reports CNBC News.
And it appears that Republicans and Democrats are in a stalemate over the spending package. Democrats have proposed at least $2.2 trillion in spending, while McConnell has signaled that he will not support legislation north of $500 billion.
This whole circus leaves the nation wondering if Congress will get anything done in the short time it has left. And now, we can throw in a Trump wildcard. Who knows what he will do.
More about Congress, end of year, omnibus spending bill, coronavirus relief, 15 business days
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