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Democrats are pushing to reverse some business tax cuts in stimulus talks.

More than 100 Democratic lawmakers are urging President Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, to repeal tax relief as part of the economic aid package that Democrats hope to send to President Biden in the coming weeks.

Lawmakers, led by Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, say the move – and a related change that would effectively raise taxes for some businesses in the years to come – could reduce federal borrowing for the aid program as up to $ 250 billion.

Mr Biden came up with a $ 1.9 trillion plan, all funded by borrowed money. Many Republicans objected to the price tag, saying it is more than the economy needs and will further inflate the federal deficit.

On Monday, 10 Senate Republicans fought back with a $ 618 billion plan. But these Republican lawmakers will almost certainly reject any increase in business taxes as a way to close the gap between the two sides in borrowing for the bill.

The tax cuts in question – which focus on so-called net operating losses – were included in a bailout bill passed by Congress in March 2020, as the pandemic spread and the country was in the middle of a recession. These were temporary cancellations of a limitation imposed on business deductions by the Republicans’ 2017 tax law signed by former President Donald J. Trump. Indeed, the March provision allowed some companies that have suffered heavy losses in recent years to reduce their federal tax bills, applying those losses to offset the income taxes of the previous five years.

Supporters of these tax breaks – including Congressional Republicans and business groups – said the move would provide an injection of cash to struggling businesses amid the pandemic.

In their letter to Ms Pelosi and Mr Schumer, Democratic lawmakers say the cuts “benefit a select set of high-income taxpayers, including hedge funds, real estate developers and possibly the Trump family.”

“The best place to start for Republicans asking for more narrowly targeted relief is to eliminate the $ 250 billion windfall for hedge fund managers and real estate speculators that they had previously built into the CARES Act,” said Mr. Doggett and Mr. Whitehouse said in a written statement. “With 120 Democratic lawmakers, we urge negotiators to end the windfall for the least needy and reinvest in the most needy.”

Lawmakers are proposing to repeal the change, which applied to losses incurred from 2018 to 2020, and make the Trump-era limitation on the carry-back of net operating losses permanent.

Together, these changes would increase federal revenues by about $ 250 billion over a decade, lawmakers said, citing estimates from the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. Some of that money would come from the government “clawing back” tax refunds sent to businesses that have already filed their tax returns and used the extended loss provision.

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US appoints Iranian envoy in battle of wills with Tehran over nuclear talks

WASHINGTON – President Biden has appointed Robert Malley, a veteran Middle East expert and former Obama administration official, to be his special envoy to Iran, two senior State Department officials said Thursday evening.

Mr Malley will be tasked with trying to persuade Tehran to curb its nuclear program – and to stop enriching uranium beyond the limits imposed by a 2015 deal with world powers – and to agree to new ones. negotiations before the United States lifts its deadly economic sanctions against Iran.

It is far from clear whether the strategy, as indicated by Mr Biden, will be successful. Iran has repeatedly said it will not return to compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal until the United States eases its sanctions, setting up a high-stakes competition to see which side will flash first.

The return to the nuclear deal, which was negotiated by the Obama administration, was part of Mr. Biden’s campaign promises after President Donald J. Trump withdrew from it in 2018. Since then, Iran has regularly violated the agreement to limit its nuclear program. , and last year, international inspectors concluded that he again had enough fuel to make a bomb.

Mr. Malley currently heads the International Crisis Group in Washington, a conflict resolution organization. He was chosen despite accusations by the Tories that he offered too many concessions in the interest of getting a possible deal. His appointment was reported Thursday by Reuters.

One of the senior State Department officials said negotiations were still far behind; the second official disputed reports that the United States and Iran had already entered into indirect talks. The two spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the official announcement of Mr Malley’s appointment.

The first official said Mr Malley and other diplomats would initially consult with leaders in Europe, the Middle East and Congress to ensure any new negotiations reflect their concerns and ideas.

Britain, France and Germany are eager to return to the 2015 deal and have tried to keep it intact even as Tehran overstepped its limits. But Israel and Muslim countries in the Middle East have long opposed the deal, in part because it has done virtually nothing to respond to Iran’s other military threats, including its missile program and its support for proxy militias in the region.

Senior congressional officials on both sides of the political aisle also remain skeptical of a return to the deal.

The chief State Department official said that US negotiators would ultimately seek a “longer, stronger but also broader deal” to curb Iran’s missiles and proxies – another strategy Tehran has already refused to consider.

But it echoes what the Trump administration demanded when it pulled out of the 2015 deal and imposed a pressure campaign of harsh sanctions and military threats against Iran and its senior officials.

The State Department official said there was hope for “a way forward,” noting the dire state of Iran’s economy. But he wouldn’t give details, including whether sanctions relief could be offered as a good faith move, except to dismiss any comparison to the Trump administration’s lobbying campaign.

Mr Malley will oversee a team of negotiators and experts who will bring what Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on Wednesday described as “divergent perspectives” on the issue.

Even before Mr Malley’s appointment, Tories accused him of being too accommodating to Iran and Israel, based on his background as a senior Middle Eastern affairs official under the Obama and Clinton administrations . Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, declared opponent of the nuclear deal, written on twitter that the selection of Mr. Malley would be “deeply disturbing”.

A public statement supporting his appointment, signed by dozens of foreign policy experts and former US officials, called Mr. Malley “one of the United States’ most respected foreign policy experts” and a “wise analyst and accomplished diplomat”.

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Senate confirms Yellen as Treasury secretary as stimulus talks loom

WASHINGTON – The Senate on Monday confirmed Janet L. Yellen, labor economist and former Federal Reserve chairwoman, as Treasury secretary, setting up a key lieutenant for President Biden at a perilous economic time, as the new administration is trying to revive an economy that has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

By a vote of 84-15, the Senate confirmed Ms Yellen, making her the first woman to hold the highest office in the Treasury in her 232-year history. Her quick bipartisan confirmation underscored the support she has from Republicans and Democrats given her previous stint as Fed chair from 2014 to 2018.

Ms. Yellen now faces a formidable new challenge. As Secretary of the Treasury, she will be responsible for helping Mr Biden prepare the $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package he has proposed, lead it through Congress and – if approved. – overseeing the deployment of trillions of dollars in relief funds.

The scale of the task became clear over the weekend, as a bipartisan group of senators virtually met with senior White House officials on Sunday and expressed doubt that such a package was needed.

Lawmakers on both sides have raised the possibility of scaling back some elements of the proposal, including eligibility for a series of suggested checks of $ 1,400 to individuals and ensuring a more targeted distribution of the additional aid, according to several people close to the discussion. They also asked the White House to provide data that would justify the proposed spending, which includes $ 350 billion in state and local aid and $ 130 billion to reopen schools closed by the pandemic.

Now Ms Yellen will be pushed into the middle of the talks tasked with convincing many Republicans and some Democrats that the economy needs another multibillion-dollar spending program. In her confirmation hearing and in her written responses to lawmakers, Ms. Yellen echoed Mr. Biden’s view that Congress must “ act big ” to prevent the economy from healing in the long run and has defended the use of the borrowed money to finance another aid program, claiming not to do so. would leave workers and families worse off.

“The relief bill at the end of last year was just a down payment to get us through the next few months,” Ms. Yellen said. “We have a long way to go before our economy recovers completely.”

Ms. Yellen also argued that “short-term budget support is not incompatible with long-term fiscal sustainability,” explaining that a healthier economy would ultimately generate more revenue for the government.

The Biden administration has said it hopes a package can gain bipartisan support in Congress. However, Democrats have signaled a willingness to turn to a budget mechanism known as reconciliation that would allow them to pass legislation by a simple majority and bypass the usual 60 vote threshold required.

David Wessel, a senior researcher at the Brookings Institution, where Yellen recently worked, said she will likely play a key role in working with Congress given her credibility with Republicans and progressive Democrats. He suggested that, because of Mr Biden’s long history in the Senate, Ms Yellen might be less involved in haggling with lawmakers and deployed to make economic arguments for certain policies.

“I think they will use it as an asset when they need an expert,” Wessel said. “Especially if some people need to be convinced of something.”

While she won the support of many Republicans, several voted against her confirmation, including Republican Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska. Mr. Sullivan told the Senate that he voted against Ms. Yellen because she refused to commit to “all of the above” energy policy, including natural gas and oil. Ms. Yellen has made tackling climate change and creating clean energy incentives a priority at the Treasury.

“In fact, I found it shocking,” said Mr Sullivan, pointing out that he made the decision to vote against Ms Yellen’s confirmation reluctantly given her strong qualifications.

In addition to negotiating with lawmakers, Ms. Yellen will have the responsibility of being America’s top economic diplomat at a time of frayed global tensions. Ms. Yellen will have to try to mend U.S. economic relations around the world, including with allies like Canada, Mexico and the European Union, which have become strained under President Donald J. Trump.

These relations will be crucial given the Biden administration’s plan to try to combat what Ms. Yellen called China’s “illegal, unfair and abusive” economic practices by bringing together allies to pressure Beijing.

During her confirmation hearing, Yellen said China “engages in practices that give it an unfair technological advantage” and said the administration is ready to use “the full range of tools” of states. United to remedy it. One of his first challenges will be to review the trade deal Mr. Trump struck with Beijing, including China’s failure to meet its commitments, and determine whether the United States should maintain the tariffs. over 360 billion dollars of Chinese products.

Longer term, Ms Yellen plans to help implement Mr Biden’s tax proposals, which include higher corporate taxes and tax increases for the wealthy.

Ms. Yellen plans to make other big changes to the Treasury Department’s mission, including using its powers to help assess the economic risks of climate change and create incentives to support clean energy technologies. It will also focus on promoting policies that reduce racial inequalities.

“It is the responsibility of the Secretary of the Treasury to strengthen the United States economy, foster widespread economic prosperity, and promote an economic agenda that leads to long-term economic growth,” Ms. Yellen said in a written response to lawmakers published Thursday.

Ms Yellen will be under pressure to quickly staff a Treasury department that had been depleted under her predecessor, Steven Mnuchin. Her deputy, Wally Adeyemo, will need confirmation from the Senate and Ms Yellen will need to select under-secretaries to be in charge of international affairs, sanctions and national finance.

Earlier this month, the Treasury Department announced a chief of staff, Didem Nisanci, and a team of senior advisers, many of whom served in the Obama administration, to work with Ms. Yellen. On Monday, the Treasury announced a new hiring list, including the appointment of Mark J. Mazur, a former senior Treasury official under the Obama administration, as deputy assistant secretary for tax policy in the legislative affairs office.

Emily cochrane contribution to reports.

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Biden plans to resume nuclear talks with Russia while punishing Kremlin, adviser says

So far, there have been no talks between Mr Biden’s representatives and the Russians about the treaty, transition officials said, due to what Mr Sullivan called a tradition. one president at a time ”.

Conversations four years ago between the Russian Ambassador to the United States and Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s senior national security adviser, led to the first inquiries into the administration’s relationship with Russia. Mr Biden’s team said they scrupulously avoided contact with outsiders on any matter of importance until the afternoon of January 20.

The idea of ​​moving forward with a separate missile deal with Iran is not new, but Mr. Trump has made no effort to negotiate limits after withdrawing the United States from it. nuclear deal in mid-2018.

Mr. Sullivan and Daniel Benaim, who was Mr. Biden’s Middle East adviser when he was vice president, argued in a Foreign Affairs article in May that the United States should, under a new president, “Immediately re-establish nuclear diplomacy with Iran and save what it can from the 2015 nuclear deal”, then work with its allies and Iran “to negotiate a follow-up deal.” At the same time, the United States would support what it called a “regional track” of negotiations that would include Saudi Arabia, Iran’s main rival in the region, and one of the main targets of its agenda. missiles.

Any effort to resuscitate the deal with Iran will undoubtedly usher in another rift with Republicans, who have previously argued Mr Biden is linked to a flawed nuclear deal. But the deal was never a treaty – it was an executive deal, which Mr. Trump declared by declaration – and its restoration could also be done by executive order.

The key question is whether the Iranians are ready to revert to the old deal. She was largely unpopular in the country, where many believed the United States never intended to allow Tehran to reap its economic benefits. And Iran is about to embark on a presidential election of its own, in which an uncompromising air force officer from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is one of the main candidates. Going back within the bounds of the existing deal, without extracting some sort of redress from the United States for Mr. Trump’s decision to reimpose the sanctions, may be politically impossible before the election.

Pressed by his interviewer, Fareed Zakaria, on why the 2015 deal did not bring about an easing of tensions and new cooperation with Iran, Sullivan rejected the idea that the Obama administration had. expectations beyond the limitation of the nuclear program.

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What is 13-3? Why a Fed debate is holding stimulus talks

As markets collapsed in March, the Federal Reserve unveiled new programs to maintain credit to states, midsize companies and large corporations – and Congress handed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin $ 454 billion dollars to support the effort.

Nine months later, Senate Republicans are trying to make sure those same programs cannot be restarted after Mr Mnuchin let them end on December 31. that would limit the Fed’s powers going forward, potentially preventing it from lending to businesses and municipalities in future crises.

The last-minute move has drawn the wrath of Democrats and jeopardized the fate of the relief legislation that economists say is badly needed as households and businesses watch a grim winter of a pandemic. Here’s a look at how the Fed’s lending powers work and how Republicans are looking to change them.

The Fed’s main and best-known job is to set interest rates to guide the economy. But the central bank was established in 1913 largely to avoid banking problems and financial panics – when people get nervous about the future and rush to withdraw their money from bank accounts and sell stocks, bonds and d other investments. Congress dramatically expanded the powers of the Fed to deal with panic during the Great Depression, adding section 13-3 to the Federal Reserve Act.

This section allows the Fed to act as a lender of last resort in “unusual and urgent” circumstances – in short, when markets are not functioning normally because investors are particularly worried. The central bank made extensive use of these powers during the 2008 crisis, notably to support politically unpopular bailouts of financial firms. Congress subsequently changed the powers of the Fed so that it needed the blessing of the Treasury to roll out new emergency lending programs or to materially modify existing ones.

During the 2008 crisis, the Fed mainly served as a real lender of last resort – it mainly supported the various financial markets by offering to intervene if conditions really deteriorated.

The 2020 emergency loan programs have been much larger. Last time around, the Fed focused on parts of Wall Street that most Americans know little about, such as the commercial paper market and primary dealers. This time, it reintroduced those measures, but it also unveiled new programs that kept credit available in virtually every sector of the economy. He offered to buy municipal bonds, supported bank loans to small and medium-sized businesses, and bought back corporate debt.

This broad package was a response to a real problem: many markets collapsed in March. And the new programs generally worked. While conditions were not very generous and relatively few state and local businesses and borrowers took advantage of these new programs, their existence gave investors confidence that the central bank would prevent a financial collapse.

Most lawmakers agreed that the Fed and Treasury had done a good job reopening credit markets and protecting the economy. But Senator Patrick J. Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, started asking questions this summer, about the end of the programs. He said he was worried the Fed might overstep its limits and replace private lenders.

After the election, other Republicans joined in Mr. Toomey’s efforts to end the programs. Mr Mnuchin announced on Nov. 19 that he believed Congress had planned the five congressional-backed programs of $ 454 billion allowed to stop lending and buying bonds on Dec. 31. He shut them down – while leaving a handful of mostly older programs open – and asked the Fed to return the money he loaned to the central bank.

The Fed issued a statement saying it was not happy with its choice, but agreed to return the money.

Democrats criticized the move as being designed to limit the options of the new Biden administration. They began discussing the possibility of recovering the funds and restarting the programs once Mr Biden took office and his Treasury secretary was confirmed, as Mr Mnuchin’s decision to shut them down and recover them. the funds rested on a questionable legal basis.

The new republican movement would cut this option. Legislative language circulating early Friday suggested that it would prevent “any program or facility similar to any established program or facility” from using the 2020 credit. If that would still allow the Fed to provide liquidity to Wall Street during a crisis, it would. could seriously limit the freedom of the central bank to lend to businesses, states and communities in the future.

In a statement, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, called it an attempt to “sabotage President Biden and the economy of our country.”

Mr. Toomey defended his proposal as an effort to shield the Fed from politicization. For example, he said Democrats could try to make the Fed’s programs much more generous to states and local governments.

The Treasury Secretary would need the Fed’s approval to improve conditions to help senior borrowers. But the central bank might disagree, as it has generally approached its powers with caution to avoid attracting political scrutiny and to maintain its status as a non-partisan institution.

Fed officials have avoided weighing in on the ongoing congressional showdown.

“I will have nothing to say about this beyond what we have already said – that Secretary Mnuchin, as Secretary of the Treasury, would like the programs to end on December 31” and that the Fed will make it Money as requested, Richard H. Clarida, the Fed’s vice chairman, said Friday on CNBC.

More generally, he added that “we think the 13-3 installations” have been “very valuable”.

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Video: Stimulus talks have made ‘major progress’, says McConnell

new video loaded: Stimulus talks have made ‘major progress’, says McConnell

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Stimulus talks have made ‘major progress’, says McConnell

Majority leader Senator Mitch McConnell has said congressional leaders are approaching an agreement on a coronavirus relief package of around $ 900 billion.

The Democratic leader and I worked in the evening alongside the Speaker of the House and the Republican House leader. We have made major progress in developing a targeted pandemic relief plan that could pass both chambers with bipartisan majorities. We are committed to continuing these urgent discussions until we have an agreement. And we have agreed not to leave the city until we have made the law. The American people need more help. It’s that simple. Further targeted relief has been expected for months. We need money for the distribution of vaccines. We need to put the paycheck protection program back in place to save jobs, we need to continue to provide for laid-off Americans. Congressional leaders on both sides will continue to work until this is done.

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House approves week-long funding extension as stimulus talks continue

A six-page framework of the Moderates’ Plan, which was obtained by The New York Times, said the group had an “agreement in principle” to provide $ 160 billion to state and local governments and offer liability guarantees. to companies and other institutions open during the pandemic “as a basis for good faith negotiations”. But he left out all the substantive details.

The lack of details highlighted the remaining hurdles for the group, which has grown steadily in recent days as it works to complete its plan. And some senators have recognized that the success of any final deal rests on Congressional leaders from both houses who have yet to fully embrace their work.

“I think at the end of the day this has to be largely negotiated between the speaker and the majority leader,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, Republican from Missouri, who praised the group for its progress so far. . “If they have a broad base of consensus with which to start, maybe it will make it easier for them to make the final decisions.”

The moderates’ sketch would raise weekly federal unemployment benefit to $ 300 per week for 16 weeks from late December through April, and extend a series of unemployment programs that expire at the end of the month. It would provide $ 10 billion to child care providers, $ 25 billion in housing assistance, $ 82 billion to education providers, $ 6 billion for vaccine development and distribution, and 7 billions of dollars to state, local and tribal governments to conduct testing and research.

Their plan would reuse the money Mr. Mnuchin recovered from the Federal Reserve and remaining funds from the expired Paycheck Protection Program and allow small businesses to receive another loan from the popular Small Business Program. Notably, it does not include another round of stimulus checks, which some lawmakers – including Senators Bernie Sanders, independent from Vermont, and Josh Hawley, Republican from Missouri – have been pushing for in recent days.

And while Democratic leaders called it a starting point for negotiations, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and majority leader, did not approve of it. Instead, he suggested Tuesday that Democrats drop their request for funding for state and local governments in exchange for Republicans giving up on including a corporate accountability shield, an idea the Democrats immediately rejected it.

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Video: ‘Compromise is at hand,’ McConnell says of stimulus talks

new video loaded: ‘Compromise is at hand,’ McConnell says of stimulus talks

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‘Compromise is at hand,’ McConnell says of stimulus talks

Senator Mitch McConnell said negotiations on a new round of coronavirus relief were closer to a deal, but did not approve a $ 908 billion compromise measure adopted by Democratic leaders.

“It was always about political differences. We have two sides with two different visions for how best to support our nation through what we hope will be the final chapter of the pandemic. Our people are suffering. But they are ready to end this fight. Congress shouldn’t keep them waiting for reinforcements that should have arrived, literally, months ago. The compromise is therefore within reach. We know where we agree, we can do it. Let me say it again, we can do it and we have to do it. So let’s make a law. “President Pelosi and I made a new offer to Leader McConnell and Leader McCarthy on Monday in hopes of restarting serious negotiations, and Leader McConnell responded by circulating another version of a Republican-only partisan project. So in the spirit of compromise, President Pelosi and I believe that the bipartite framework introduced by a group of eight senators on Tuesday should be used as the basis, framework, for immediate bipartisan and bicameral negotiations. Urgent action is needed and we believe that with good faith negotiations we could very well come to an agreement. We are already much closer to an agreement because of the bipartisan negotiations that these eight senators led – created. And we can keep the momentum going. “

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Leading Democrats back compromise plan to relaunch stimulus talks

WASHINGTON – Leading Democrats in Congress on Wednesday approved a bipartisan $ 908 billion stimulus compromise as a baseline for the talks, offering a major concession in an attempt to pressure Republicans to restart stalled talks on providing additional relief before the end of the year.

After months of publicly insisting that another stimulus package must provide at least $ 2 trillion, President Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, called out Senator Mitch McConnell , Kentucky Republican and Majority Leader, to return to the negotiating table with a bill less than half that size as a starting point.

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., whose advisers had been pushing privately in recent weeks for lawmakers to compromise to pass an economic aid deal as quickly as possible, also offered some sort of blessing for this effort. At a virtual event with laid-off workers and a small business owner struggling with the pandemic, Mr Biden said the bipartisan package “wouldn’t be the answer, but it would be an immediate help for a lot of things, fast. .

The measure, led by West Virginia Democrat Senator Joe Manchin III and Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins, would restore stale federal jobless benefits, providing $ 300 per week for 18 weeks; would include $ 288 billion for struggling small businesses, restaurants and theaters and $ 160 billion for financially strapped cities and states; and create a temporary liability shield for companies operating in the midst of the pandemic.

The Democratic decision to pass it publicly offered no guarantee of a swift deal with Mr McConnell, who on Tuesday began circulating a significantly smaller cadre with the promise of a presidential signature. If negotiations resume, it’s also unclear how far Democrats would push to increase the size of the package.

The two sides are expected to overcome big differences on the details, including two particularly thorny issues: sending federal money to state and local governments to help fill the budget holes opened up by the recession, which many Republicans are facing. oppose regardless of the dollar amount, and how to limit the legal liability of open companies during the pandemic, an effort many Democrats have criticized.

“Of course we and others will suggest improvements, but the need for action is immediate, and we believe that with good faith negotiations we could reach an agreement,” said Ms Pelosi and Mr Schumer. in their statement. The couple had sent a new offer on their own on Monday night to Mr McConnell and Republican leader Kevin McCarthy of California, but after a group of moderate senators from both parties presented a plan on Tuesday, Ms Pelosi and Mr. Schumer threw his weight behind the frame “in a spirit of compromise”.

It amounted to a remarkable admission by Democrats that they could no longer hold out for the $ 2.4 trillion package they had demanded, especially as coronavirus cases rise across the country and may the appeals for relief continue to mount. For months, Republicans criticized Democratic leaders for pushing the expansion plan and preventing small aid – like new small business loans – from progressing.

Democrats accused Mr McConnell of blocking a deal and failing to compromise. Their decision on Wednesday was in part an effort to challenge him to start compromise talks, and Democrats could use stalled negotiations as a rallying cry in two second-round elections in Georgia next month that will determine the Senate control in 2021.

But it was also an attempt to find some sort of deal to bolster the economy that could be enacted before Mr Biden took office.

The change in demands came after Mr Biden said on Tuesday that any stimulus legislation passed during the lame session “is lucky to be, at best, just a start” and that Congress should act in the next few months. days. Ms Pelosi and Mr Schumer, in their statement, also highlighted the imminent distribution of a vaccine and the federal funds that will be needed to safely disperse the first rounds across the country.

The Compromise Plan, drafted by a bipartisan group that included Senators Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia; Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah; and Angus King, independent from Maine, is supposed to serve as an interim measure until March. It was endorsed by the bipartisan House problem-solvers caucus, whose members and staff consulted with some senators after unveiling a similar bipartisan proposal.

Manchin said the group hoped to have the text ready by Monday.

“Over the past 24 hours, there has been a lot of socialization of ideas,” said Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, adding that she and other senators involved in the framework had split into groups. to resolve individual problems. “We’ve all worked with colleagues in the field saying, ‘Yeah, that’s what we’re talking about. Is this something you can support?

Mr McConnell appeared to panic the bipartisan cadre on Tuesday, repeatedly saying that President Trump’s support would be needed for any coronavirus deal. And speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin declined to weigh in on the bipartisan measure or the offer made by Ms Pelosi and Mr Schumer, reiterating instead that Mr Trump would sign the plan. by Mr. McConnell.

But some lawmakers have indicated they would be willing to support the bipartisan framework, even if it comes close to the $ 1 trillion that some of their colleagues would have liked. The effort received additional support Wednesday from the American Chamber of Commerce, the influential business lobbying group in Washington, which said in a statement that it “strongly supported the bipartisan group of lawmakers who proposed a new plan to pandemic relief ”for the lame. – duck session.

“There are message bills, and there are bills that can pass,” Romney said Wednesday before Democrats announced their support for the plan. “Our bill that we are working on is one that has enough support on both sides of the aisle, I believe, to eventually pass.

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, Republican No. 2 in the Senate, suggested to reporters that “maybe we can merge” the bipartisan framework with Mr. McConnell’s outline and that the group of senators “has had great success winning the list of problems. “

Mr Biden said on Wednesday he had “urged our Congressional Republicans to work on a bipartisan emergency plan now,” while stressing that such a package, “at best, will be just a down payment.

He also said his transition team was already drafting legislation to help support the economy, which he would push Congress to approve when he takes office.

“To say the obvious,” Biden told a woman who lost her job in the pandemic, “my ability to get you help immediately does not exist.”

“We’re going to get through this. You are going to get by, ”he added. “It will be hard as hell for the next 50 to 70 days, unless the House somehow acts, the Senate acts and passes some kind of document.

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Biden talks to more world leaders and agrees to meet with the South Korean president.

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. spoke with three other foreign leaders on Wednesday in the latest show of international support for his electoral victory. He also pledged to a quick meeting with one of them: President Moon Jae-in of South Korea.

In a statement, Biden’s transition team said the president-elect participated in “congratulatory calls” with Mr. Moon, Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan. The calls with three of the United States’ closest allies came the day after four Mr. Biden held with Western European allies, in a return to traditional diplomatic protocol after years of random foreign interactions by the president Trump.

Mr Biden spoke to each of the leaders in the coronavirus pandemic, the global economy and “democracy building,” according to the descriptions of the transitional office calls. While the State Department typically helped facilitate such appeals to an elected president and provide him with translators if needed, a source familiar with Mr. Biden’s calls in the past two days said the Trump administration had refused to provide such assistance.

But even as Mr Trump continues to make false accusations of electoral fraud and claim to be the real winner of the election, virtually all of the world’s top leaders have now acknowledged that Mr Biden would be inaugurated in January. The few who resist include two autocratic allies of President Trump – Russian President Vladimir V. Putin and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro – as well as Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In one Twitter messageMr. Moon said he and Mr. Biden affirm their countries’ “strong” alliance and their desire for a “peaceful and prosperous” Korean peninsula.

During their 14-minute phone call, Mr. Moon highlighted “Mr. Biden’s long experience in the affairs of state, his excellent leadership and his clear vision,” Mr. Moon’s spokesperson said. , Kang Min-seok. Mr Biden praised South Korea’s largely successful fight against the coronavirus, comparing it to the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic.

The two leaders agreed to meet as soon as possible after Mr. Biden’s inauguration, Mr. Kang said.

Mr. Moon’s government hopes the Biden administration will restart stalled negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and abandon Mr. Trump’s speech on reducing the presence of US troops in South Korea, which now has 28,500 soldiers.

“As President, I will stand with South Korea, strengthening our alliance to safeguard peace in East Asia and beyond, rather than extort Seoul with reckless threats to withdraw our troops.” Mr. Biden said in a column published by South Korean Yonhap. News agency a few days before the elections.