WASHINGTON - “It is the biggest giveaway to the biggest businesses in America in modern memory,” said Illinois Senator Dick Durbin.
Durbin on the Senate floor Tuesday denounced a Republican plan for the next round of coronavirus relief. Republicans responded that a plan already approved by House Democrats is just too expensive.
While the debate continues, millions of American workers no longer have a $600-a-week unemployment benefit that expired last month.
One indication of how the search for a compromise on Capitol Hill is going? It is only Tuesday, but the Senate's second-ranking Democrat urged his colleagues take a break until next week.
“Literally leave Washington. Go home and meet up with the people who sent them to Washington to work for them,” Durbin said.
He spoke amid growing bi-partisan pessimism that, even during the worst pandemic in a century and 90 days before an election, Congress and the White House will compromise.
"It's not gonna produce a Kumbaya moment like we had in March or April where everybody voted aye," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
"If this bill is gonna pass with all Democrats in the House and a majority of Democrats in the Senate, it's gotta be something that Democrats like and support," said Senator Charles Schumer.
"The Democrats need to meet us at least halfway,” responded Senator Todd Young of Indiana.
Young and some Republicans have been willing to support a trillion dollars in coronavirus relief. Other senate Republicans oppose any additional federal money.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her House Democrats Monday night that the country needs another $3.4 trillion, including a trillion dollars for state and local governments, with Illinois and Chicago counting on a multi-billion dollar bailout.
Democrats also have election-related demands, as North Side Congressman Mike Quigley told Good Day Chicago.
“Aid to the post office, election security,” Quigley said. “We believe that the post office needs to be propped up and actually have its service improved. Especially because we're going to be relying on vote by mail so much in the upcoming election.”
If there is no congressional compromise this week, President Trump said he would take executive action, perhaps on taxes and to extend a moratorium on evictions.