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Senate leaders suspend talks on rank-and-file COVID-19 deal

Senators say the chances of a group of centrist republicans and democrats coming together on a compromise coronavirus virus package are slim or none due to pressure from the leadership of their respective parties.

Centrist senators, who are usually expected to have sideline negotiations, say there has been little activity despite the apparent breakdown of talks between the White House and Democratic leaders.

They say it’s because leadership on both sides of the aisle has frozen the possibility of rump group talks less than two months before elections, where future control of the Senate will be decided.

Republican senators say the Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerOvernight Health Care: Schumer urges Azar to resign over ‘chaos’ in coronavirus response CNBCs Cramer calls Pelosi ‘crazy Nancy’ in live interview Schumer urges Azar to resign due to ‘chaos’ in coronavirus response MORE (DN.Y.) has asked its Democratic colleagues not to undercut their leadership by working on side agreements with the GOP.

“The bigger problem here is Senator Schumer has decided that there should be no negotiations. Right now, we are not even able to even talk to ranked Democrats because they have been asked not to negotiateiate, ”said sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio Rubio The Hill’s Morning Report – Sponsored by Air Line Pilots Association – Trump, Biden Couldn’t Be Different on Climate Change Congress Should Support Independent Supervision of Federal Prisons Senate Panel Seeks Documents in Probe on DHS Whistleblower Complaint MORE (R-Fla.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business, which has jurisdiction over the popular payslip protection program.

Senate majority whip John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGOP promotes attacks on Democrats over talk of nixing filibuster On The Money: Pelosi says House will remain in session until stimulus deal reached | GOP Lack of Votes on Trump’s Controversial Fed Election | WTO regulates Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods illegally GOP short of votes on Trump’s controversial Fed election MORE (RS.D.) said the Senate Democratic leadership has “crushed” any attempt to negotiate separately with People’s Democrats on scaled-down relief measures.

“I hope we do could sit together. I think there are people who would do it, but I think ththeir leadership right now has just crushed it in the hope that they will get the majority after the election, ”he said.

$ 500 billion to the $ 700 billion proposal, which included $ 105 billion to help colleges and schools resume classes and $ 300 a week of federal unemployment benefits, could not get a single Democratic vote last week.

A centrist Democratic senator interested in adopting coronavirus legislation in the next few weeks said contrary to the speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi tries to put pressure on GOP in aid campaign COVID-19 On The Money: Pelosi says House will remain in session until stimulus agreement reached | GOP Lack of Votes on Trump’s Controversial Fed Election | WTO determines Trump tariffs on Chinese goods Illegal Democratic lawmakers call for investigation into allegations of medical malpractice at Georgia’s ICE facility MORE (D-Calif.), Schumer has not given colleagues the green light to put together their own proposal.

The legislature said Pelosi tacitly gave housewives permission to unveil their own $ 1.5 trillion relief proposal on Wednesday, though she said she did not support it.

“It’s time to do something, but the question is whether we can get people to talk about it,” the senator said. “You can’t get out in front of these things when you have the majority leader and the minority leader saying different things on the floor.”

“Schumer and McConnell never like their people talking,” the senator added, referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP promotes attacks on Democrats over talk of nixing filibuster MLB owner: It’s’ very necessary ‘to vote for Trump Delta: Early departures save flight attendants’ jobs MORE (R-Ky.). “As I understand it, Pelosi gave the green light for his people to lead the discussion.”

A prominent centrist who is usually in the midst of efforts to form bipartisan gangs is Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP short of votes on Trump’s controversial Fed Election Congress to save the postal service from collapse – our economy depends on it Garcetti: I would have acted faster if Trump had not downplayed the virus MORE (R-Maine). But she is a Democratic top target in the midst of the toughest re-election race of her Senate career.

Democrats do not have much interest in giving her a major political victory a few weeks before election day, and Collins has kept a lower profile than in recent years.

A group that participated in two parties, of approx. 50 House Democrats and Republicans in Problem Solvers Caucus, proposed a $ 1.5 trillion package Wednesday that would provide a new round of $ 1,200 stimulus control, $ 500 billion in support of state and local governments and a $ 600 per week federal improvement in state unemployment advantage.

Pelosi during a conference call with colleagues on Tuesday said she sticks to her position, something she later confirmed in an interview with CNBC.

“A thin agreement is a Republican bill. It’s not a deal at all, “she told CNBC host Jim Cramer.

She argued that Congress should “use the appropriate amount to meet the needs of the American people” at a time “The Fed spends trillions of dollars shielding our economy in other ways with monetary policy.”

Asked about Problem Solvers ‘plan, Schumer said Tuesday that he sticks to his and Pelos’ call for a $ 2.2 trillion package.

“The speaker and I stand by our position. We are willing to meet the president in the middle, ”he said, referring to the $ 1.1 trillion GOP proposal approved by the White House in July and the $ 3.4 trillion HEROES law passed by House Democrats in May.

Senate Democrats say McConnell and White House Chief of Staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall Meadows CNBC’s Cramer calls Pelosi ‘crazy Nancy’ in live interview Pelosi digs in when pressure builds up for COVID-19 deal Pelosi defends not talking to Trump for almost a year MORE are the biggest obstacles to reaching a coronavirus deal.

“I think it comes down to one word: McConnell,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). “He has created an environment and perhaps specific imperatives that make his members avoid any two-party commitment.”

He noted that the Minister of Finance Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinHillicon Valley: TikTok, Oracle Seeks Trump Approval When Clock Wins Down | Hackers Arrested for Allegedly Destroying US Sites After Iranian General’s Death | 400,000 people sign up to vote for Snapchat TikTok, Oracle seeks Trump approval as clock ticks down Dems discussing government funding bill for February MORE has hovered the idea of ​​negotiating a $ 1.5 trillion package, but that McConnell has moved in the opposite direction by putting a $ 500 billion proposal on the floor last week.

“Failure to lead, purposefully or unintentionally, discourages my Republican colleagues from getting involved,” Blumenthal said.

McConnell spent the last few weeks of August making regular conference calls with Republican colleagues to unite them behind a $ 50 billion to $ 700 billion coronavirus bill that garnered 52 Republican votes on the floor last week.

Dens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP Senators Say Coronavirus Trades Dead Until Post-Election Tucker Carlson Accuses Lindsey Graham of Convincing Trump to Talk to Woodward Trump Courts in Florida Voters with Moratorium on Offshore Drilling MORE (RS.C.) last week raised hopes that a Senate gang would find common ground between the parties to adopt a coronavirus assistance bill before the election, but then quickly rejected the option.

Graham said Tuesday that the leadership of both parties has expressed no interest in letting classmates step in to negotiate a deal.

“If the management is not interested … they are the primary players here,” he said.

Several senators said Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) Manchin OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats begin voting on climate-focused energy bill next week | EPA appoints controversial leader to air quality advisory committee Coronavirus delays Pentagon research on alternative to ‘eternal chemicals’ Senate Democrats demand White House fires controversial head of agency MORE (DW.Va.) has floated the idea of ​​introducing a proposal in line with the problem solvers’ plan, but the discussion has been limited to a small group.

Manchin said Tuesday that he is studying Problem Solvers’ plan, but does not plan to release his own proposal anytime soon.

“I have no intention of doing that right now. No one at all, ”he said.

“I think they are still negotiating. If they are still negotiating, then why are we jumping in and destroying them? He said of talks between the White House and the Democratic leaders.

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