The GOP leader acknowledged the package he will be putting forward “does not contain every idea our party likes.” And he said it was far less than what Democrats are seeking.
“Yet Republicans believe the many serious differences between our two parties should not stand in the way of agreeing where we can agree,” he said.
McConnell’s move Tuesday would clear the way for a Thursday test vote in which the $500 billion scaled-back bill — roughly half the size of a measure McConnell unveiled earlier this summer — is sure to be blocked by Democrats.
McConnell’s bill would provide $105 billion to help schools reopen, enact a shield against lawsuits for businesses and others that are powering ahead to reopen, create a scaled-back $300-per-week supplemental jobless benefit, and write off $10 billion in earlier post office debt. There’s $29 billion for a coronavirus vaccine, $16 billion for virus testing and $15 billion to help child care providers reopen. There is additionally $20 billion for farmers.
The package will also include a school choice initiative sought by Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz and others that would provide a tax break, for two years, for people who donate to nonprofit organizations offering private school scholarships.
But it won’t contain another round of $1,200 direct payments going out under Trump’s name. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., continues to demand $2.2 trillion, and while Trump’s negotiators have signaled a willingness to inch further in her direction, a significant gap remains.
Trump said Monday that Democrats “don’t want to make a deal because they think that if the country does as badly as possible … that’s good for the Democrats.”
“I am taking the high road,” he told reporters at the White House. “I’m taking the high road by not seeing them.”
All of this imperils the chances for another round of $1,200 direct payments, the restoration of more generous unemployment benefits to those who’ve lost their jobs because of the pandemic, updates to a popular business subsidy program, and money to help schools reopen and states and local governments avoid layoffs.
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