Lawmakers disagreed over Republican plans to rein in Federal ReserveLending powers of the crisis over the weekend, as talks over a $ 900 billion economic relief package hit the line ahead of the funding deadline Sunday night.
Members of Congress had originally set themselves a deadline for the end of the working week to hammer out an agreement to continue funding the federal government and provide much-needed stimulus to the Covid-19 pandemic-stricken US economy. But the Temporary measure Late on Friday it was agreed to extend the deadline to the end of the weekend.
Earlier in the week, congressional leaders insisted the deal was close on what would be the second largest economic relief package in US history, lagging behind only the $ 2.2 trillion Welfare Act that was passed in March at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. we.
But negotiations hit a stumbling block on Thursday when Pat Tome, Republican senator from Pennsylvania, sought to introduce language into legislation that would prevent the Federal Reserve from reviving emergency credit facilities that are due to expire at the end of the year.
Democrats vehemently rejected these efforts, accusing Republicans of trying to “tie” Joe Biden’s hands in the White House at the last minute.
The proposal sparked a public warning from Ben Bernanke, the former Fed chairman, on Saturday.
Bernanke wrote in a statement: “I strongly support passing new aid to families and companies suffering from the effects of the epidemic.”
However, it is also imperative that the Fed’s ability to quickly respond to the disruptive disruptions in credit markets is not constrained. The Relief Act should ensure, at a minimum, that the Fed’s emergency lending authorities, as they were before the CARES Act was passed, remain fully intact and available to respond to future crises. “
Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States on January 20, and while the Democrats will take control of the House of Representatives, it remains unclear whether the Republicans will convene the Senate. Control of the upper house of Congress will be determined by two re-runs of the Senate, which will be held in Georgia on January 5.
Chuck Schumer, the highest-ranking Democratic member of the Senate, said Saturday that Tommy’s proposal was the “first outstanding issue” in the negotiations.
Schumer said: “Senator Tommy’s new proposal will likely block the Treasury and the Federal Reserve from creating new emergency lending facilities going forward, significantly reducing their ability to respond to economic crises.
Senator Tommy’s proposal would do more than just block the incoming Treasury and Federal Secretary [Reserve] Chair from using the emergency lending programs that saved our economy and stabilized markets in March and April. ”“ It is likely that it prevents them from creating new facilities that look or even resemble those programs going forward. ”
Earlier on Saturday, Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader in the Senate, called on Democrats to make concessions.
There is a kind of pull here in Congress that, unless we are careful, any major negotiations can easily slip into an endless list of disagreements. Let’s watch out for that, “he said.
“We had fruitful discussions last week,” he said. But the American people cannot feed their families or pay their bills through bona fide congressional debates. They want us to act. We need to finish our talks, draw up a bill, and land this plane. “