Schumer says GOP moving in Democrats’ direction on COVID-19 talks


Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Tuesday he is hopeful about the negotiations for a fifth round of COVID-19 relief, suggesting Republicans are open to Democrats’ demands.

“The negotiations are moving forward bit by bit,” Mr. Schumer said.

However, he argued Republicans don’t understand the gravity of the pandemic and the funds needed to ensure schools can reopen properly. Democrats have put forward a nearly $4 trillion bill while Republicans‘ proposal is about $1 trillion.

The two parties have also been sparing over the dollar amount for weekly unemployment checks, with Democrats demanding $600 but the GOP aiming for $200.

Democrats have also wanted a moratorium on evictions to be included in the relief package and more money for the November elections so states can prepare properly at polling places during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Schumer has been meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for the past two weeks to try to strike a compromise.

The minority leader said they have moved closer on about five or six issues.

“At least they are understanding the needs here,” Mr. Schumer said. “We need real help for people losing their jobs … for renters being kicked out of their houses.”

In the past three negotiating sessions, “they came in our direction,” the New York Democrat told reporters.

But Senate Republicans charge the Democrats have been unwilling to move forward on any real resolution.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, told reporters the American people would like to see the two sides working together.

Sen. John Barrasso, Wyoming Republican, said that, for Ms. Pelosi, California Democrat, and Mr. Schumer, it’s “all politics, all the time.”

“I’m convinced they don’t actually want an agreement,” Mr. Barrasso said.

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