“Congressional leaders appeared to snuff out any chance of a lame-duck deal on coronavirus aid, signaling Thursday that they remain far apart on how much stimulus the nation needs, POLITICO’s Burgess Everett and Sarah Ferris report.
Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are refusing to move off their demand for at least $2 trillion of relief. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, signaled he won’t go higher than $500 billion.
— That leaves no way forward even amid a worsening pandemic. White House negotiators have disengaged, and the same issues that derailed a pre-election deal — namely, how much funding to send state and local governments — remain post-Nov. 3 sticking points.
— The standoff is irritating centrists on both sides. Sen. Susan Collins called for Senate Democrats to help advance the chamber’s GOP-authored bill to force a compromise with the House.
Moderate Democrats in the House, meanwhile, are pressing for a compromise or even the passage of a series of piecemeal bills. But the broader caucus is unlikely to accept a slimmer package now that Biden is in line for the presidency, on the hope that he could help push through a better deal after Inauguration Day.”
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