Tempers flare as coronavirus stimulus bill stalls in Washington

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – On Monday the standoff between Democrats and Republicans continued after the two parties failed to advance a massive coronavirus aid bill.

Democrats, for the second time, blocked an economic stimulus package of nearly $2 trillion, saying the Republican aid plan wasn’t an effective tool for helping working families and businesses.

“We need to protect workers,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. Democrats have blasted the GOP-led stimulus plan, calling it a “slush fund.”

Democratic leadership met with White House officials to try to reach a compromise, but by midday Monday Democrats began circulating a separate plan emphasizing their own priorities.

“The American people don’t want another corporate bailout,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. “The money should go directly in the pockets of workers”

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said the Republican plan skimps on funding for healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic, adding, “We need to start with healthcare and hospitals.”

GOP senators accused Democrats of stalling aid during an international crisis for political purposes.

“I don’t know what my colleagues on the other side are thinking,” Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said Sunday. “Right now, the unemployment rolls are going up by the hundreds of thousands.”

Grassley accused Democrats of delaying vital resources, including $1,200 direct payments to millions of Americans.

“They ought to be embarrassed,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “This is not a juicy political opportunity, this is a national emergency.”

Democrat and Republican leaders say they hope to end the standoff and strike a deal before Tuesday.

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