Senate Republicans are divided over the next stimulus package and are so far apart from Democrats that a stimulus deal may not get done.
Here’s what you need to know.
According to reporting from CNN, Senate Republicans may be considering a $1.3 trillion stimulus package, nearly one-third the size of a proposal from House Democrats. That significant delta in funding may be a difficult hurdle to overcome if both parties don’t find common ground. Here are some of the current divisions (understanding not every Republican or Democrat may support the positions of their party):
Second stimulus checks
Size of stimulus relief
- Republicans: they’re targeting a $1.3 trillion stimulus plan (although this number can change).
- Democrats: they’re targeting a $3 trillion stimulus plan based on the Heroes Act, which House Democrats passed.
Unemployment benefits extension
- Republicans: they want a cash return-to-work bonus based on Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-OH) proposal to encourage workers who have been unemployed or furloughed to return to work.
- Democrats: they don’t want a return-to-work bonus; they want to extend unemployment benefits to help struggling Americans who have been impacted by record unemployment.
State and local aid
- Republicans: Senate Republicans want $30 billion for schools to reopen, according to CNN. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos want schools to reopen this fall. Pence has said the White House may condition any state and local aid on schools reopening.
- Democrats: they want $1 trillion for state and local aid, according to CNN, including $430 billion to reopen schools safely.
- Republicans: McConnell reiterated the need for liability protection from Covid-19 lawsuits for businesses, including hospitals and schools. This could be a five-year liability protection retroactive to 2019 through 2024.
- Democrats: this is not a top priority.
Other high priority items
McConnell says he is focused on the economy, jobs, healthcare and opening schools. His other high-priority economic stimuli include a payroll tax cut, a return-to-work bonus, a $4,000 travel credit and an infrastructure plan, among others incentives to create more manufacturing jobs. McConnell does not appear to be focused on student loans or student loan forgiveness for the next stimulus. The next stimulus bill will be drafted by Senate Republicans and the White House. However, Republicans will need to work with Democrats to draft a bi-partisan stimulus bill. Why? Senate Republicans only control 53 seats in the Senate, and therefore they need at least 60 votes to override a Democratic filibuster.