Tuesday, July 28, 2020

GOP Releases Coronavirus Relief Proposal After Delay

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg News
Senate Republicans rolled out a roughly $1 trillion coronavirus relief bill proposal Monday, launching a mad dash to reach a deal with Democrats on expiring unemployment payments and other aid disputes in the parties’ rival plans.
The Republican plan cuts the current federal $600 weekly unemployment supplement to $200 a week through September, when the payment will then combine with state benefits to replace 70% of previous wages. Democrats have proposed continuing through January the current $600 a week supplement, which costs about $15 billion a week.
The U.S. jobs market has partially rebounded since the unemployment rate went from 50-year-lows to record highs early in the pandemic, with employers adding 7.5 million jobs in May and June after cutting 22 million nonfarm jobs the prior two months. But a recent increase in people seeking unemployment insurance signaled the recovery could be faltering as Covid-19 cases surged in the South and West, prompting new business closures.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) billed the Republican proposal as the appropriate response to the toll the virus continues to take across the country.
“We have one foot in the pandemic, and one foot in the recovery. The American people need more help. They need it to be comprehensive, and they need it to be carefully tailored to this crossroads. That is what this Senate majority has assembled,” he said.
Democrats criticized the GOP proposal as offering too little aid, and said Republican senators should have introduced their bill earlier.
“We’re running out of time. but Senate Republicans just ran down the clock and tossed an air ball,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.).
The number and size of the policy differences between Republicans and Democrats will likely make it difficult for the parties to come together on a compromise in just a few days. Republicans have also struggled to tamp down differences in their own ranks over the new round of deficit spending. Over the weekend, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) warned that half of the GOP caucus wouldn’t support the Republican bill, setting up a difficult negotiation ahead.
“You’ve got to thread the needle,” Mr. Graham told reporters on Monday. “At the end of the day we all have a need to pass something.”
Top White House officials have floated the idea of breaking off some policy items into separate bills to try to pass them more quickly, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) has repeatedly rejected that approach.
Read the rest from the WSJ HERE and follow links below to related stories:

GOP coronavirus relief plan would lower weekly jobless benefit to $200 in transition to states

White House, Democrats start negotiations over new coronavirus relief

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