• By The Financial District


The desperate race to corral the coronavirus pandemic took on even greater urgency Monday (Tuesday, July 21. 2020 in Manila) as a burgeoning economic crisis collided with political turmoil. Even as the latest experimental vaccine appeared to show promise, politicians in Washington seemed far apart in finding a way to bring financial relief to Americans.

As the first federal relief package was poised to end, Congress was trying to come to agreement on another package to ease the financial burden Americans have dealt with as businesses have endured repeated shutdowns or pauses since the virus first appeared on the continent, Lisa Marie Pane, Kelli Kennedy and Ed White reported for the Associated Press (AP.)

Even as Republicans were at odds with Democrats over how much money was enough, top Republican members of Congress also faced pushback from the White House. GOP leaders met Monday with President Donald Trump as the White House panned some $25 billion in the GOP’s plan that would be devoted to testing and tracing, said one Republican familiar with the discussions. There remains a wide gulf between the GOP and Democratic packages, with Democrats passing in the House a $3 trillion package, while the Republican package came in at about $1 trillion.

“We have to end this virus,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Monday on MSNBC. Any attempt by the White House to block testing money “goes beyond ignorance.” The political stakes are high for all sides before the November election, especially with the nation registering more coronavirus infections and deaths than any other country. With 17 straight weeks of unemployment claims topping 1 million, many households were facing a cash crunch and losing employer-backed health insurance coverage.