On Tuesday, the White House proposed a $916 billion stimulus package with funding for state and local governments, liability protections for businesses, and $600 stimulus checks.
Unlike the $908 billion bipartisan stimulus package, the White House’s offer does not include $300 a week in additional unemployment insurance.
Congress now has a week to sign another major stimulus bill into law before its holiday recess.
Democrats and Republicans in Congress have been working around the clock to make a deal on a new stimulus bill ahead of the next recess, but now a third party has entered the negotiations. On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin shared a statement revealing that he had presented a new $916 billion stimulus proposal to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that would include funding for state and local governments (a priority of Democrats) as well as liability protections for businesses, schools, and universities (a priority for Republicans).
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Not only is the package slightly larger than the $908 billion package that a bipartisan group of senators presented last week, but unlike that package, it also has the support of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who told reporters on Capitol Hill that the proposal was “a great offer.”
One of the key differences between the $916 billion offer and the $908 billion bipartisan proposal is that the Trump administration’s plan includes $600 stimulus payments to individuals, which the other plan lacked. The issue for most Democrats will be that it pays for all of these one-time cash infusions by eliminating the $300 per week supplemental unemployment insurance. This will likely make the offer a non-starter for most Democrats.
Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded to the White House’s offer in a joint statement:
While it is progress that Leader McConnell has signed off on a $916 billion offer that is based off of the bipartisan framework, the President’s proposal must not be allowed to obstruct the bipartisan Congressional talks that are underway. Members of the House and Senate have been engaged in good-faith negotiations and continue to make progress. The bipartisan talks are the best hope for a bipartisan solution.
The President’s proposal starts by cutting the unemployment insurance proposal being discussed by bipartisan Members of the House and Senate from $180 billion to $40 billion. That is unacceptable.
The fact that McConnell is mulling anything beyond the $500 billion targeted relief he’s been pushing for months is indeed noteworthy, but it does not sound like Democratic leadership is going to budge on additional unemployment insurance. In the meantime, Congress is planning to vote on a seven-day continuing resolution to avoid a shutdown on Wednesday ahead of passing an omnibus spending bill to fund the government next week. If a stimulus deal can be reached, it will be attached to the spending bill, which means that time is running out.
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