September 20, 2020

White House and Congress Remain Far From Any Stimulus Deal

“If we can reach a compromise on these big issues, I think everything else will fall into place,” Mr. Mnuchin said after briefing Mr. McConnell on the latest meeting. “If we can’t reach an agreement on these big issues, then I don’t see us coming to an overall deal and then we’ll have to look at the president taking actions under his executive authority.”

On Wednesday, disputes over funding for the Postal Service also emerged as a sticking point between Democratic leaders and the Trump administration, as top officials huddled with the postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, for more than an hour as part of their negotiations.

Mr. Schumer described a “heated discussion” with Mr. DeJoy, who he said had ignored multiple phone calls over concerns about slow mail delivery in New York. Democrats and voting rights groups have charged that cutbacks Mr. DeJoy has put into place are part of a deliberate effort by Mr. Trump to undermine the Postal Service in an effort to interfere with mail-in voting that will be critical to a safe election in November.

“We told him that elections are sacred and to do cutbacks, at a time when all ballots have to count — you can’t say, ‘Whoa, we’ll get 94 percent’ — is insufficient,” Mr. Schumer said after the meeting. “We are demanding that the regulations that are put in place, which cut employment over time, be rescinded, particularly because of Covid and because of the elections.”

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The Coronavirus Outbreak ›

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated August 4, 2020

  • I have antibodies. Am I now immune?

    • As of right now, that seems likely, for at least several months. There have been frightening accounts of people suffering what seems to be a second bout of Covid-19. But experts say these patients may have a drawn-out course of infection, with the virus taking a slow toll weeks to months after initial exposure. People infected with the coronavirus typically produce immune molecules called antibodies, which are protective proteins made in response to an infection. These antibodies may last in the body only two to three months, which may seem worrisome, but that’s perfectly normal after an acute infection subsides, said Dr. Michael Mina, an immunologist at Harvard University. It may be possible to get the coronavirus again, but it’s highly unlikely that it would be possible in a short window of time from initial infection or make people sicker the second time.
  • I’m a small-business owner. Can I get relief?

    • The stimulus bills enacted in March offer help for the millions of American small businesses. Those eligible for aid are businesses and nonprofit organizations with fewer than 500 workers, including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and freelancers. Some larger companies in some industries are also eligible. The help being offered, which is being managed by the Small Business Administration, includes the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. But lots of folks have not yet seen payouts. Even those who have received help are confused: The rules are draconian, and some are stuck sitting on money they don’t know how to use. Many small-business owners are getting less than they expected or not hearing anything at all.
  • What are my rights if I am worried about going back to work?

  • Should I refinance my mortgage?

    • It could be a good idea, because mortgage rates have never been lower. Refinancing requests have pushed mortgage applications to some of the highest levels since 2008, so be prepared to get in line. But defaults are also up, so if you’re thinking about buying a home, be aware that some lenders have tightened their standards.
  • What is school going to look like in September?

    • It is unlikely that many schools will return to a normal schedule this fall, requiring the grind of online learning, makeshift child care and stunted workdays to continue. California’s two largest public school districts — Los Angeles and San Diego — said on July 13, that instruction will be remote-only in the fall, citing concerns that surging coronavirus infections in their areas pose too dire a risk for students and teachers. Together, the two districts enroll some 825,000 students. They are the largest in the country so far to abandon plans for even a partial physical return to classrooms when they reopen in August. For other districts, the solution won’t be an all-or-nothing approach. Many systems, including the nation’s largest, New York City, are devising hybrid plans that involve spending some days in classrooms and other days online. There’s no national policy on this yet, so check with your municipal school system regularly to see what is happening in your community.

Democrats are pushing for $10 billion to be allocated to the agency over a year, instead of their original proposal for distributing $25 billion over three years. They have also proposed additional money for food assistance programs, money for child care, and more than $900 billion to help states and local governments avoid laying off public workers as tax revenues fall. Administration officials have offered $150 billion in state and local aid, and on Wednesday, Mr. Trump said he opposed any such money.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/05/us/politics/congress-coronavirus-stimulus.html

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