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Democrats in Congress holding firm on coronavirus bill as deal remains out of sight

Democratic congressional leaders aren’t budging on their position with the White House and Senate Republicans over the next coronavirus relief bill.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer held a press conference on Thursday to discuss the current negotiations. Pelosi said that Republicans do not understand the severity of the economic fallout from the coronavirus.

“We have to move more quickly because the light at the end of the tunnel may be the freight train of the virus coming at us if we do not act to contain it,” Pelosi said.

Schumer joined Pelosi in calling for quicker action from Republicans and said the solution needs to be a long-term one.

“Republicans want to apply just a Band-Aid,” Schumer said, referring to the White House offer for a short-term extension of the unemployment benefits. “We won’t let them just pass the Band-Aid, go home and leave America bleeding.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Thursday that the Senate would not take its August recess until a deal is reached. The House has also delayed its summer recess.

“Senators will have 24-hour notice before a vote, but the Senate will be convening on Monday, and I will be right here in Washington,” McConnell said.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said the White House and Democrats are still trillions of dollars apart. The Democrats are still pushing hard for a bill close to $3 trillion while Republicans maintain that is far too much at this time.

“When it comes to elections, education, and food assistance. When it comes to health care coverage, testing and tracing, and Medicaid. Senate Republicans continue to pinch pennies during a national emergency. We won’t stop fighting to get Americans the relief they deserve,” tweeted Schumer.

The White House has been pressing for a temporary short-term relief bill so that Americans don’t have to suffer while ongoing negotiations drag on in Washington. Pelosi said the House will not agree to such a bill.

“We’re not having a short-term extension,” she said.

When asked why she thought Republicans won’t interested in spending more money on this bill, Pelosi said: “Perhaps you mistook them for somebody who gives a damn.”

Last week, Meadows blasted Pelosi and Schumer for not agreeing to a short-term deal.

“Tonight, once again, the White House offered a temporary extension of needed unemployment assistance which expires tomorrow. And again, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi said no. What we’re seeing is clear. This is a politically motivated party that won’t take ‘yes’ for an answer, Meadows tweeted.

PHOTO: Carolyn Kaster/AP

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