Senate Republicans will vote on a smaller coronavirus aid package this week, according to a report released on Sunday.
Although House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and President Donald Trump continue to fight over a future coronavirus aid package, the Senate GOP majority plans to vote on a smaller, more targeted approach compared to Pelosi’s $3 trillion HEROES Act. The HEROES Act passed in May.
The planned vote arises as many coronavirus aid programs created in the phase three coronavirus package, the CARES Act, have expired.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that he remains skeptical that Congress can strike a deal before the November elections because “the cooperative spirit we had in March and April has dissipated as we’ve moved closer and closer to the election.”
Axios reported that the Senate GOP package could fall between $500 and 700 billion, which is reportedly far below the Democrats’ $2.2 trillion asking price for another coronavirus bill.
Many Senate Republicans, and especially those in tough races in 2020, agree that the Senate needs to pass another bill; however, many members disagree on the scope of the bill.
Therefore, the Senate GOP conference decided to move forward with a more targeted approach to aiding schools, adding liability protections, and addressing perceived problems with the CARES Act’s enhanced unemployment benefits.
Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) told Breitbart News in August that the Democrats’ generous enhanced unemployment benefits may be disincentivizing Americans from going back to work as states start to reopen.
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), a member of Senate GOP leadership, said last Tuesday, “We have a focused, targeted solution that we hope the House would pass.”
Axios reported that many Senate Republicans believe the smaller coronavirus package will fail, but they contend that it will put Democrats on defense.
One Senate GOP aide told Axios, “They would like to change the conversation and highlight the immediate needs in a skinny bill and force Democrats to essentially shoot it down.”
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.