A deal on a new coronavirus relief package seems distant and elusive, as congressional Democrats and Republicans remain at an impasse on key issues. Lisa Desjardins joins Judy Woodruff to discuss where negotiations stand and how far apart the two sides are both in terms of dollar figures and philosophy of funding distribution.
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A deal on the next coronavirus relief package seems far from sight, as Democrats and Republicans continue are still at an impasse on key issues.
Our Lisa Desjardins joins us now to report on where things stand.
So, Lisa, what do we know at this hour?
Judy, hopes for a deal this week are very dim. There has been no real progress between the two sides in the last 48 hours.
Though they have continued to meet, it doesn't seem like any side is giving in on some of the key issues here. And, in fact, Republicans tonight and all day today, they are saying that, if there is no deal, they are increasingly considering executive action by President Trump.
But, Judy, it's not clear exactly what President Trump would do. Perhaps he could initiate a payroll tax cut of some sort, but that's not even popular with all of his own Senate Republicans.
So, some Democrats think the executive action idea may be a bluff. It's not clear.
Judy, I can tell you right now the timeline seems to be moving away from this week and into a potential deal next week. Republicans don't like that, but that seems to be where we are. Overall, Judy, it's a staring contest at this moment over a dozen different issues.
And think about this. This — these negotiations are probably the largest divide our two parties have had in terms of dollar figures in modern American history. They are maybe $2 trillion apart on what this deal needs to look like.
And, Lisa, let me ask you to drill down a little on one issue that I know a lot of people care about, of course, and that's aid to schools.
What is known about the differences on that at this point?
Right. It's worth looking at that.
Let's talk about the dollar figures, first of all. Republicans at this time are proposing — or Democrats, rather. Republicans are proposing $90 billion for schools. That's K-12 and higher ed. Democrats have upped what they would like from their original ask in May. Now they are requesting $345 billion.
They would divide it different ways. Republicans, in their offer right now, would like two-thirds of that money for the K-12 schools to go to schools which reopened, so Republicans pushing for reopening in some form.
Democrats instead would distribute that money by population. So, there, Judy, you see the crux of the impasse right now. The two sides are divided over dollar figures by a large amount and over philosophy over how to handle the coronavirus and reopening itself.
Such a frustrating moment in so many Americans watching these negotiations very closely.
Lisa, I know you will continue to. Thank you.