Senate GOP agrees on $1 trillion COVID stimulus spending program
Republican senators agreed over the weekend on the second phase of coronavirus stimulus measures “tailored precisely to this phase of the crisis,” costing $1 trillion.
The proposal addresses spending on the reopening of schools, direct stimulus payments and continued unemployment payments while eliminating payments that would incentivize workers to stay home and not look for a job.
“It just wouldn’t be fair to use taxpayer dollars to pay more people to sit home than they would working and get a job,” said Trump Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
The plan also extends a federal moratorium on evictions for rentals, which expired last week along with unemployment benefits.
The GOP held out hope that pressing issues such as unemployment extensions and an eviction moratorium can be agreed to quickly with the Democrats.
“Perhaps we put that forward, get that passed, as we can negotiate on the rest of the bill in the weeks to come,” White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday.
A month ago, the Democrat-controlled House approved a $3 trillion spending package to address the coronavirus economic displacement, which included enhanced $600 per month unemployment benefits until the end of 2020.
But Republicans say the Democrat plan is a non-starter.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) who isn’t on board with the GOP proposal either, slammed House Democrat leader, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for putting the interests of her friends over regular Americans.
“Her objectives are shoveling cash at the problem and shutting America down,” said Cruz. “It’s just shoveling money to her friends and not actually solving the problem.”
Cruz said he favors more direct aid to Americans in the form of payroll tax cuts and regulatory reform, but GOP leadership squashed the plan, which was also favored by President Trump.
The GOP plan has about $100 billion pegged to help get schools open and increase virus testing, plus a $1,200 direct payment to taxpayers similar to previous stimulus payments, in addition to the proposed unemployment benefits.
“We need as many K-12 schools, colleges, and universities as possible to be safely welcoming students this fall,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. “So, Chairman Alexander, Chairman Shelby and Chairman Blunt are finalizing an ambitious package of funding and policy to help our schools reopen.”
“It is the framework that will enable Congress to make law and deliver more relief to the American people that is tailored precisely to this phase of the crisis,” McConnell said.
Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley (IA); Lamar Alexander (TN); Susan Collins (ME); Marco Rubio (FL); Richard Shelby (AL); Roy Blunt (MO); John Cornyn (TX); and Mitt Romney (UT) will each introduce a portion of the proposed stimulus plan today.
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