Jamie Dimon blames 'childlsh behavior' in Congress for coronavirus relief deadlock

Jamie Dimon blames 'childlsh behavior' in Congress for coronavirus relief deadlock

November 18, 2020

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JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon lashed out at Congress for a months-long deadlock over another coronavirus relief package to help American workers and families still reeling from the pandemic-induced recession.

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“We have this big debate: Is it $2.2 trillion, $1.5 trillion? You’ve got to be kidding me,” Dimon said at a virtual New York Times conference Wednesday. “Just split the baby and move on. This is childish behavior on the part of our politicians."

For months, Congress has struggled to reach an agreement over another round of emergency relief after they passed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act in March.

While there is broad support among members of both parties for another deal, they disagree sharply over the size and scope. The debate continues to drag on as lifelines that propped up the economy early in the pandemic — like the $670 billion Paycheck Protection Program, which gave a one-time $1,200 stimulus check and sweetened unemployment benefits — have ended.

While there is broad support among members of both parties for another deal, they disagree sharply over the size and scope of it, even as lifelines that propped up the economy in the early weeks of the pandemic — like the $670 billion Paycheck Protection Program, a one-time $1,200 stimulus check and sweetened unemployment benefits — lapsed months ago.

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Key policy differences, including funding for a virus testing plan, aid to state and local governments and tax cuts for low- and middle-income families, have confounded lawmakers since May, and they remain no less of a challenge in the weeks after the 2020 election.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to resume negotiations on Tuesday. But McConnell's preference for a bill somewhere in the realm of $500 billion and the Democrats' stance that at least $2.2 trillion is needed for relief efforts makes it unclear whether lawmakers will be able to strike a deal before year's end.

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Dimon, who did not prescribe blame to either party, urged lawmakers to agree to another stimulus package, saying it would act as a sort of bridge until mid-2021 as the world waits for vaccines to be widely distributed. He said there is "deep, deep frustration" in the country, particularly among low-income workers, who have been hit the hardest by the unemployment crisis.

“There’s a big part of our country which is really struggling,” Dimon said. “That’s what we should be focusing on. It has zero to do with Democrats and Republicans. It’s got to do with helping those people get through the toughest part of COVID, and we’re not through with it yet.”

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Dimon also said that in addition to helping individual workers and businesses, another stimulus package would likely boost the nation's economy.

“If stimulus doesn’t come, the probability of having a good economic outcome drops," he said.

There are just 12 legislative days left on the calendar, giving Congress limited time to work through its ambitious agenda — which includes passing a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown.

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