Republicans are signalling that they will not support the $908 billion bipartisan coronavirus relief plan.
The plan was intended as a compromise between Democrats and Republicans after months of deadlock over how much should be spent, and on what.
But according to The New York Times and Politico, staffers for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are saying that multiple Republicans won’t support the proposal without the changes they want.
Democrats have dismissed the White House’s alternative proposal in favor of working on the bipartisan one, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested that negotiations could continue after Christmas.
Republicans are signalling that they will not support the $908 billion bipartisan COVID-19 stimulus package, which was itself intended as a compromise as Democrats and Republicans remained stuck on the size and scope of a relief plan.
Talks on a new round of stimulus have been ongoing for months with little progress, prompting a group of bipartisan lawmakers to negotiate and propose a $908 billion deal that Democratic leaders have embraced but top Republicans, particularly Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have expressed issues with.
The New York Times reported on Thursday that aides to McConnell privately signaled that most Republicans would likely not support the bill unless changes are made.
His advisors told congressional leaders that Republicans would want greater liability protections for businesses, and were not happy with proposals for funding state and local governments, The Times reported.
And according to Politico, citing a senior Democrat, McConnell’s staff told congressional leaders’ staff that the bipartisan plan with such funding proposals and limited liability protections would mean that most Republicans would not accept it.
It also reported that both parties are internally disagreeing over what they should accept.
Democrats have pointed to the bipartisan bill as the best hope of reaching an agreement before the end of the year.
Earlier this week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin put forward a separate $916 billion stimulus proposal, which did not include federal unemployment payments, but did offer one-off $600 payments. Democratic leaders have dismissed that proposal, continuing to favor the bipartisan talks.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, said on Thursday: “Everyone knows that this bipartisan proposal is the only real game in town at the moment, the only proposal with enough bipartisan support to hopefully pass both houses of Congress before the end of the year.”
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also suggested on Thursday that negotiations could continue after Christmas if a deal hasn’t been reached.
“If we need more time, then we take more time. But we have to have a bill, and we cannot go home without it,” she said.
However, as Business Insider’s Joseph Zeballos-Roig reported on Thursday, federal assistance programs that support millions of people could expire before that point. These include:
An eviction moratorium will expire on December 31, and millions of people could face losing their homes if it’s not extended.
Around 12 million people could lose jobless aid the day after Christmas if Congress doesn’t renew certain unemployment programs.
Many economists have urged lawmakers to pass another relief package to help minimize the economic blow of the pandemic.
Earlier talks had reached a deadlock after Democrats argued for a $2.2 trillion relief plan, but Republicans argued for smaller packages.
The $908 billion bipartisan plan does not include new $1,200 stimulus checks.
But Sens. Bernie Sanders, a Democrat, and Josh Hawley, a Republican, are pushing for a separate vote on another found of $1,200 stimulus checks to Americans who earn up to $75,000.
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