The White House and Senate Republicans are still trying to resolve internal differences over their opening offer on the next coronavirus relief bill. Negotiations with Democrats, likely to be even more difficult, are still ahead.
Here’s a quick recap of where things stand:
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was reportedly pushing to unveil the GOP blueprint as soon as Wednesday, but Senate Republicans and the White House are still struggling to reach agreement on key issues. Senate GOP staffers were reportedly briefed Wednesday afternoon on the proposal, which is expected to include a two-month extension of an as-yet-unspecified flat unemployment insurance payment.
- With Republicans still internally divided, and their differences with Democrats even larger, passage of any coronavirus relief bill appears likely to slip deeper into August
- That timing, and the looming expiration of the $600 federal boost to weekly unemployment benefits, has some Republicans exploring a short-term extension of emergency unemployment payments to millions of laid-off workers (see more below).
- The payroll tax cut President Trump says he wants may not be included in the Republican plan. “GOP leadership has made no decision yet on whether their proposal will include a payroll tax cut,” Politico reports.
- Democrats appear to be enjoying the GOP’s intraparty squabbling. “It’s in the middle of the week, and the Republican Party is so disorganized, chaotic and unprepared that they can barely cobble together a partisan bill in their own conference,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).