Congress Breaks for Thanksgiving With No COVID Relief in Sight
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ABC News Reports: Congress heads home for Thanksgiving without pandemic relief deal
As the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 surpasses 250,000, Congress has headed home for a week-long Thanksgiving recess without passing an economic relief bill. Some are hopeful that talks will make progress before the end of the legislative calendar year.
Democratic aides have told ABC News that staffers of the congressional ‘Big Four’ met Thursday to discuss ways coronavirus relief could be tacked on to a must-pass spending bill that needs to clear both chambers of Congress by Dec. 11 to avert a government shutdown. The ‘Big Four’ includes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Leaders from both parties have shut down any idea of combining the spending bill with COVID relief. They have said that the two issues need to be dealt with separately.
"Last night, they've agreed to sit down and the staffs are going to sit down today or tomorrow to try to begin to see if we can get a real good COVID relief bill," Schumer told reporters Thursday in New York. "So there's been a little bit of a breakthrough in that McConnell's folks are finally sitting down and talking to us."
Republican aides have said that talks this past Thursday were only about the spending bill to fund the government through the next year.
"The COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession will not end without our help. It is essential that this bill have sufficient funding and delivers meaningful relief to the many Americans who are suffering. For the sake of the country, we ask that you come to the table and work with us to produce an agreement that meets America’s needs in this critical time," Pelosi and Schumer wrote in a letter addressed to McConnell earlier in the week, urging the Republican leader to meet them at the negotiating table.
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