Coronavirus relief package: Republicans plan new scaled-back proposal?

There are wide differences between the Democrats and Republicans over the coronavirus stimulus package. However, there are reports that Republicans plan to come up with a scaled down proposal for the coronavirus relief package.

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New proposal for coronavirus relief package

Amid the standoff over the next stimulus package, Senate Republicans could be planning to introduce a trimmed down proposal of the coronavirus relief package, notes a report from Bloomberg, citing two Senate Republican aides.

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As per the report, the upcoming proposal may offer aid to small businesses, funding for the U.S. Postal Service, liability protection and $300 a week enhanced unemployment benefit. This proposal would be a scaled-down version of the $1 trillion HEALS Act that Senate Republicans came up with as a response to the over $3 trillion HEROES Act, which was passed by the Democrats in mid-May.

Apart from what the Bloomberg report says, there are no more signs of such a proposal for the coronavirus relief package. Moreover, there is no information if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to call senators back from their August break for a vote on the package.

A point to note is that any package would need some Democratic support to pass in the Senate. Also, it is known that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling the House to return to vote on different legislation related to the postal funding.

It would be interesting to see Democrats’ response to such a proposal for the coronavirus relief package from Republicans. Democrats rejected the $1 trillion HEALS Act, and thus, they might not support the trimmed down version either.

During the negotiations last week, Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer have offered to make a compromise of $1 trillion, i.e., asking for a stimulus package of over $2 trillion. Republicans, however, rejected raising the cost of the stimulus package.

Stimulus package still possible

With millions still out of work and growing risk to the economy, a coronavirus stimulus package is the need of the hour. Several Federal Reserve officials, economists, governors and mayors have stressed the importance of a relief package.

McConnell, at a news conference on Monday, appeared hopeful on striking a deal with Democrats. “I can’t tell you with certainty we’re going to reach an agreement,” he said.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows also suggested that President Donald Trump wants to come up with a coronavirus stimulus package, including approving funds for the post office.

“The President is very clear he is willing to provide money for the post office as long as it is included in some other skinny measure if we can’t agree to a larger deal,” he said, according to Reuters.

However, Meadows added that there hadn’t been any real talks among the negotiators. “We are making progress at least in a conceptual way, but there (have) been no real discussions between the four negotiators,” he said on Monday.