Sen. Cassidy gives latest on relief funding negotiations

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(KLFY)- Democrats, Republicans and the White House are struggling to agree on issues that would move forward a second coronavirus stimulus bill.

“Right now there is an impasse where the White House is negotiating with speaker Pelosi and there is a lot of money difference but there’s a lot of policy difference and they’re trying to bridge that gap and so far they’ve been unable to bridge that gap,” says Lousiana Senator Bill Cassidy. 

House Democrats passed a $3 trillion stimulus proposal called the HEROES act in May. The White House and Senate Republicans unveiled the HEALS Act on July 27 with a $1 trillion dollar price tag. 

Democrats, Republicans, and the White House are struggling to agree on issues like money going to states and local governments, enhanced unemployment benefits and school funding. Now there’s word a stalemate could last till September. 

“Clearly the thing that is on the top of people’s minds if they are unemployed are the unemployed benefits. Republicans had offered to continue the $600 a week as negotiations continue on everything else. Kind of carve out unemployment. Speaker Pelosi said ‘No we want the whole package or nothing’ in a sense using the pain of the unemployed in order to gain her bigger package. The president obviously did what he’s done and executive order which continues benefits at least to some extent,” says Cassidy. 

President Trump’s executive order means the federal government would contribute $300 per week to enhanced unemployment benefits while states are responsible for the remaining $100. Governor John Bel Edwards says they are trying to figure out how the state can afford to participate in the enhanced benefits. 

One thing both parties can agree on is that Americans need another stimulus check. Through the CARES Act, adults received $1200 and dependents received $500. For adults to receive the check they had to file income taxes in the previous year.

Cassidy explains that college students may have fallen in between, and should be included in the next round of checks. 

“If you were a mom and you have three kids at home that were at summer camp that are now back at home, and you can’t work and you have to stay at home with them, you’re really under stressed,” Cassidy said. “How do we help that family, how do we help those college students? The president is committed to the stimulus checks, that’s one thing that Pelosi agrees with. I want to make it fair for those who are left out last time or who seem to be hurting more this time.”

The senator recently announced CARES Act funding was obtained to help the Acadiana Planning commission in its economic recovery and resilience plan.  

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