What's keeping Washington from a coronavirus relief deal, explained

Donald Trump
Posted at 7:48 PM, Aug 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-11 19:48:32-04

WASHINGTON — Hopes are fading for quick agreement on a huge coronavirus relief bill.

Both the Trump administration negotiating team and top congressional Democrats are taking a hard line, bringing talks to a near standstill.

The impasse is denying money to the unemployed, state and local governments and schools that are struggling to reopen. Money for other priorities, including the election, may come too late.

But it's not like Washington politicians to leave so much money on the table. No one is giving up on reaching a deal, making further rounds of negotiations a near certainty.

The breakdown in negotiations for a new coronavirus relief bill in Congress means help won't be coming anytime soon for budget-strapped state and local governments across the U.S.

Governors, mayors and educators have been asking Congress to allocate hundreds of billions of dollars to help them deal with a sharp drop in tax revenue caused by the pandemic. Some states and cities already are laying off or furloughing workers and cutting back on infrastructure projects.

School districts say they cannot safely reopen without more money to make schools safer as the virus outbreak worsens across the country.

There has been some change with an executive order from President Donald Trump, but governors and state labor department officials around the country are scrambling to figure out if it is feasible to implement the executive order to partially extend enhanced unemployment insurance for millions of Americans struggling to find work in the pandemic-scarred economy.

Democrats described the Trump effort as a hollow political gesture that would leave Americans without a much-needed lifeline at a time when unemployment remains at a level not seen since the Great Depression.

Even some GOP governors said they were unsure if the Trump order was workable for their states.