The Senate is set to return from its summer recess next week and Senate Republicans are preparing a narrower COVID-19 relief bill in the $500 billion to $1 trillion range that they hope to ready for a floor vote next week.
House and Senate Democrats have ripped the GOP plan as “emaciated,” making clear that consensus on a new round of stimulus will remain a difficult goal.
“Their proposal appears to be completely inadequate and, by every measure, fails to meet the needs of the American people,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in a letter to colleagues today. “Based on their self-described lack of urgency, the continued division of their caucus, and this most recent inadequate proposal, it is clear Republicans are trying to ‘check the box’ and give the appearance of action rather than actually meet the truly profound needs of the American people.”
The Senate Republican bill is expected to include an extra $300 in weekly federal unemployment benefits through the end of December, another round of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), $105 billion for education and liability protections for companies, schools, and nonprofit groups, according to a draft of the bill. Any legislation would require 60 votes, including support from some Democrats, to advance, which is unlikely. Republicans said the bill could also be attached to a continuing resolution to fund the government past Sept. 30.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told CNN this week that he’s not sure if another stimulus deal will get done this month. “I do think we need to reach agreement,” he said, but “the cooperative spirit we had in March and April has dissipated.”