↩ back to the box
 

https://thefiscaltimes.acemlnb.com/lt.php?s=7085111072a8f859f757719600cc036c&i=61A63A1A2095

 

 

By Yuval Rosenberg and Michael Rainey

Pelosi Says $1.3 Trillion 'Not Enough' for Next Coronavirus Relief
Bill

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that the next coronavirus
relief bill, which is expected to include some kind of extension of the
$600 per week unemployment supplement, would cost at least $1.3 trillion
- but that amount is "not enough." In an interview on Bloomberg
Television, Pelosi said she was confident Republicans would "come
around" to make a deal in the coming weeks, with the final package
totaling close to the $3 trillion proposed by House Democrats.

**White House says stimulus must include payroll tax cut:**So the two
sides are potentially trillions of dollars apart, and the prospects for
reaching any deal may be further complicated by White House insistence
that any package include a payroll tax cut. "As he has done since the
beginning of this pandemic, President Trump wants to provide relief to
hardworking Americans who have been impacted by this virus and one way
of doing that is with a payroll tax holiday," White House spokesman
Judd Deere said in a statement cited by The Washington Post
.
"He's called on Congress to pass this before and he believes it must
be part of any phase four package."

Lawmakers, including key Republicans, have been cool to the idea, which
Trump and administration officials have been pushing for months. A
spokesperson for Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Republican chair of Senate
Finance Committee, said, "Chairman Grassley looks forward to working
with the Administration and his fellow lawmakers on the next coronavirus
bill. A number of tax relief proposals will be part of the
discussion." That's not exactly a wholehearted endorsement of a
payroll tax cut.

**Emergency unemployment aid expires soon:**The $600 per week boost in
unemployment benefits - which has helped keep millions of Americans
afloat since payments began in April - expires in most states on July
25, and it looks increasingly likely that Congress will allow the
program to lapse or end, even as lawmakers negotiate a potential
extension. The failure to pass an extension before July 25 means there
could be a period of at least several weeks with no additional
unemployment payments, which could be disastrous financially for the
millions of unemployed workers in the U.S., as well as for the economy
as a whole. (For more details on how this could play out, see this CNBC
piece
.)

The Trump administration said earlier this week that it was open to a
limited extension at a lower payment level, possibly between $200 and
$400 per week. Pelosi on Wednesday signaled that she is willing to
negotiate with Republicans on the size of the supplemental payment,
though any agreement would depend on how much money is provided in the
form of direct assistance to individuals as part of the next stimulus
package.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), however, sounded less
interest in extending the extra unemployment payments, saying Tuesday
that the "bonus" had been a "mistake." Many Republicans believe
the higher unemployment payments are motivating workers to avoid going
back to their jobs, depressing the recovery. Many Democrats, however,
argue that there simply isn't enough work available for the more than
30 million people currently receiving unemployment assistance, and that
the supplements are needed to prevent the economy from sliding
backwards.

**Many other obstacles:**Pelosi reportedly wants to include another
direct payment to individuals in the bill, and McConnell has said he's
open to the idea, though it's likely that any payments will be more
strictly limited by income. Both leaders also say they want to see aid
for schools in the package, and Republicans reportedly are looking at
tying aid to schools reopening
.

Those and numerous other issues will be difficult to negotiate.
Democrats want to include housing assistance for renters and homeowners,
but Republicans are opposed. Pelosi wants to provide substantial aid -
as much as $1 trillion - to state and local governments, but McConnell
and the White House have resisted the idea, expressing concerns about
'bailing out' governments that have run large deficits. Democrats
also want more food aid and tougher workplace safety rules, but
Republicans have resisted, while maintaining that doctors and businesses
need more liability protection from lawsuits over potential
coronavirus-related illnesses and deaths.

Negotiations expected to start next week. Congress returns to town from
its Fourth of July break on Monday and negotiations over the relief bill
are expected to begin next week. But it looks like there's a good
chance it may be too late to extend the enhanced unemployment payments
without disruption.

Schumer, Democrats Propose $350 Billion in Aid for Minority Communities

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and 14 Senate Democrats on Thursday
proposed to invest $350 billion in communities of color, which have been
hit disproportionately by the coronavirus pandemic, as part of the next
aid package.

The proposal

would provide $135 billion for child care, mental health, primary care
and job training and $215 billion for infrastructure including
high-speed internet; tax credits for homeowners and renters; and
Medicaid expansion. The proposal would be partially paid for by
re-programming $200 billion of unspent funds provided by the CARES Act
passed in March.

"Long before the pandemic, long before this recession, long before this
year's protests, structural inequalities have persisted in health care
and housing, the economy and education," Schumer said in a statement.
"Covid-19 has only magnified these injustices and we must confront
them with lasting, meaningful solutions that tear down economic and
social barriers, and reinvest in historically underserved communities.
The Economic Justice Act is a needed step in a long journey to address
systematic racism and historic underinvestment in communities of color."

Quote of the Day

**"Never before in our history has Congress spent so much money so
quickly as we have in response to COVID-19. Unprecedented spending,
while necessary, creates an unprecedented opportunity for funds to be
misused and other forms of mischief. Although the Administration has
taken limited steps to increase transparency and accountability, it is
incumbent upon Congress to further strengthen oversight."**
- 17 Blue Dog Democrats in a letter
to
congressional leaders asking that Congress "protect taxpayer
dollars" by passing legislation to stop improper coronavirus payments
to dead people, strengthen inspectors general, require more information
from federal agencies and have the Federal Reserve record and release
details of meetings pertaining to pandemic response. Read more at The
Hill
.

FreedomWorks President: 'No New Spending as Part of Coronavirus Relief
Bills'

Adam Brandon, president of FreedomWorks
,
the conservative and libertarian advocacy group, says that the federal
government can't afford to spend any more on coronavirus relief. In an
opinion piece at The Hill
,
Brandon argues that while another coronavirus aid package may be
inevitable, it shouldn't extend the $600 in enhanced weekly
unemployment benefits set to expire this month.

Economists warn that cutting off those benefits could sharply reduce
incomes for some 30 million Americans, which could reverberate across
the economy. A new study

released Thursday by JPMorgan Chase found that unemployed households
actually

**increased**their spending once they began receiving benefits. "The
fact that spending by benefit recipients rose during the pandemic
instead of falling, like in normal times, suggests that the $600
supplement has helped households," the report says.

But Brandon argues that extending the benefit would hurt businesses:

"Not only would extending these benefits drive up the deficit, which
already exceeds $2.744 trillion this year and is expected to continue to
rise, but it would also deal a serious blow to small businesses who may
need workers as they struggle to pick up the pieces from the economic
shutdowns that sent the economy in a tailspin.

"Paying workers more to stay home than to return to work is a surefire
way to cause thousands of small businesses -- a cornerstone of the
economy across the country -- to go under."

What's more, he says, extending the federal unemployment benefit may
be "a stepping stone on the path to universal basic income." A
better idea, he suggests, would be to cut payroll taxes, as President
Trump is reportedly demanding. "Businesses deserve the support they
need to safely and responsibly reopen," he writes. "This starts with
no new spending as part of coronavirus relief bills."

Jobless Claims Top 1 Million for 17th Week in a Row

Another 1.3 million Americans filed initial claims for state
unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said
Thursday. New applications fell for
the 16th straight week, but the size of the decrease fell short of
expectations, with just 10,000 fewer filings than the week before. It
was the 17th straight week in which initial claims exceeded 1 million.

In addition to the claims through the state systems, more than 900,000
people applied for benefits through the federal Pandemic Unemployment
Assistance program, which provides assistance to self-employed and gig
workers who are usually ineligible for unemployment aid.

In all, about 2.2 million people applied for unemployment benefits in
the week ending July 11. (Using data that is not seasonally adjusted,
the number is 2.4 million
).

"The level of jobless claims is stalling -- and that's a very worrying
sign," said
Heather
Long of the Washington Post.

Chart of the Day: The Cost of Covid-19 Hospitalizations

The median charge for hospitalization of a Covid-19 patient ranged from
$34,662 for those between the ages of 23 and 30 to $45,683 for the 51-60
age group, according to a new analysis of commercial claims by
not-for-profit research firm Fair Health
.
(h/t Modern Healthcare

and Morning Consult )

The Case of the Disappearing Covid Data

A sudden change by the Trump administration in how coronavirus data is
reported is raising concerns

among political leaders, public health experts and state and hospital
officials that it could lead to increased burdens on already strained
facilities and reduce transparency about the state of the pandemic.

"To have the CDC not be able to distribute publicly the number of
hospitalizations and the number of deaths is going to hurt us in our bid
to end this crisis," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said oin a
statement
.
"Because when you don't know the truth, and you don't go after the
truth, inevitably, you lose out."

Health care watchers noted

Wednesday that previously public data like a dashboard tracking hospital
capacity were no longer available on the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention website.

The change came after the Trump administration transferred control of
the information to the Department of Health and Human Services. The CDC
reportedly restored the site's previous dashboards later in the day,
with data through Tuesday and a note saying: "This file will not be
updated after July 14, 2020 and includes data from April 1 to July
14."

HHS spokesman Michael Caputo told CNBC

the CDC was directed to make the data available again. "Yes, HHS is
committed to being transparent with the American public about the
information it is collecting on the coronavirus," he said.
"Therefore, HHS has directed CDC to re-establish the coronavirus
dashboards it withdrew from the public on Wednesday."
Some experts expressed concerns that the change could lead to the data
being politicized, or could hamper tracking of the pandemic.

Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University, told
CNBC she was concerned that the administration didn't appear to have
detailed planning for the sudden transition in data reporting from the
CDC to HHS and didn't give hospitals or researchers a warning about
the change.

"The question is, what are we going to lose in this transition, and in
particular at a moment where we really don't want to lose any ability
to understand what's happening in hospitals," she said. "I think
it's reasonable to worry that it could lead to erosion of capacities
at a moment where we very much can't afford to lose any abilities."

News

* Trump Administration, Congressional Republicans Eye Tying School Aid
to Reopening in Next Funding Bill

- Washington Post

* Pelosi Urges Trump to Tap Emergency Powers to Meet Medical Equipment,
Testing Needs

- The Hill

* $600 Unemployment: If Congress Lets It Expire, It Won't Be Pretty,
Says JPMorgan Chase Institute

- Fast Company

* Even If the $600 Weekly Unemployment Boost Is Extended, Payment Could
Be Delayed for Weeks

- CNBC

* White and Higher-Income Households Got Coronavirus Stimulus Checks
Faster Than Black and Lower-Income Households

- CNBC

* Democrats Target Confederate Monuments in Spending Bill

- The Hill

* Georgia Governor Bans Cities From Ordering People to Wear Face Masks

- CBS News

* Mandatory Mask Use Could Have Saved 40,000 Lives, Study Says

- Bloomberg Businessweek

* Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders Slam Trump for Giving Gilead
'Windfall' Deal for Coronavirus Drug

- CNBC

* House Panel Probes 'Problematic' Government Contracts for COVID-19
Supplies

- The Hill

* Inspector General: Medicare Chief Seema Verma Broke Rules on Her
Publicity Contracts

- Politico

* Ocasio-Cortez Pushes Cuomo to Back Billionaires' Tax

- New York Times

* Despite Calls to Defund the Police, Some Cities Are Spending More

- Wall Street Journal

Views and Analysis

* Allowing Unemployment Benefits to Expire Is Political and Economic
Malpractice

- Jared Bernstein, Washington Post

* 9 Charts That Show the Good, the Bad and the Alarming of This Early
Economic Recovery

- Heather Long, Washington Post

* I'm a GOP Governor. Why Didn't Trump Help My State With
Coronavirus Testing?

- Gov. Harry Logan (R-MD), Washington Post

* The American Right Is Pushing 'Freedom Over Fear'. It Won't Stop the
Virus

- Jan-Werner Müller, The Guardian

* A Second Coronavirus Death Surge Is Coming

- Alexis C. Madrigal, Atlantic

* Testing Is on the Brink of Paralysis. That's Very Bad News

- Margaret Bourdeaux et al, New York Times

* Start Building the Post-Pandemic Economy Now

- Karl W. Smith, Bloomberg

* Wall Street Sets High Stakes for Next Fiscal Stimulus

- Brian Chappatta, Bloomberg

* Covid Leaves Its Mark on Three Health Giants

- Max Nisen, Bloomberg

* We Missed One Chance to Open Schools Safely. Here's the New, More
Expensive, Option

- Danielle Allen, Washington Post

* Where Is My Income Tax Refund?
-
Howard Gleckman, Tax Policy Center

* How Can The IRS Do Correspondence Audits When It Can't Open Its
Mail?

- Janet Holtzblatt, Tax Policy Center

* Why America Needs a National Innovation Plan Right Now

- John R. Allen and Darrell M. West, The Hill

* Americans Want Evidence and Data to Drive COVID Decisions - They
Don't Believe It's Happening

- Benjamin Harris and Kate Tromble, The Hill

**Copyright © 2020 The Fiscal Times, All rights reserved.**
You are receiving this newsletter because you subscribed at our website,
thefiscaltimes.com , or through Facebook.

The Fiscal Times, 399 Park Avenue, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10022, United States

Want to change how you receive these emails? Update your preferences
or unsubscribe

Warning: the message above can be a phishing scam. See: legal notes