Here Are the Key Points of GOP's Virus Relief Package

Daniel Fowler
July 30, 2020

The Bill, facing tense negotiations in the Senate before multiple provisions aimed at helping Americans stave off financial losses amid the coronavirus pandemic expire on Friday, is on shaky ground with the White House at odds with both Democrats and Trump's own Republicans, who control the chamber.

Democrats want to extend the payment at its current level.

While some Republicans talked about the need for a stopgap extension of the enhanced unemployment benefit, Pelosi said she opposed doing that or leaving behind other initiatives important to Democrats.

Pelosi said the best way to reopen schools and the economy is to defeat the virus, and that can't be done with the "skinny" bill Republicans are rushing to cobble together.

Shelby, the top GOP appropriator in the Senate, said the funding is important to support American jobs in the defense industry.

"More than 175,000 New Mexicans have benefited from the $600 boost throughout the pandemic", the governor said in a statement.

"The rest of it, we're so far apart, we don't care, we really don't care, " Trump told reporters outside the White House, referring to divisions between the two parties.

The virus toll continued to mount in the USA, with 4.4 million confirmed cases and deaths passing 150,000. Voters are assessing their handling of the virus crisis before the November election, and President Donald Trump's standing is at one of the lowest points of his term, according to a new AP-NORC poll.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows later told reporters that he did not believe House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer were in a "negotiating mood".

Gohmert suggests without evidence that wearing mask contributed to contracting coronavirus
A spokesperson for Barr said the attorney general will be tested for the virus on Wednesday because of his contact with Gohmert. In a video posted to Facebook , Gohmert said says he initially took a so-called quick test at the White House this morning.

It's clear that Democrats are trying to push an advantage in the negotiations because Republicans are so deeply divided over the prospect of big government spending.

It was not clear whether Trump was referencing the supplemental unemployment payment that Democrats want to maintain at $600, or the second round of stimulus checks - which Democrats want to maintain at either the levels of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act or expand to recurring monthly payments of up to $2,000 through the pandemic. In the intervening months, the crisis deepened.

It would provide another round of $1,200 direct payments based on the same formula from the earlier aid bill. People making $75,000 or less would receive the full amount and those making more than $75,000 would receive less, depending on their income. People earning above $100,000 would again not qualify for the payment.

"It was a request from the administration", Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said Tuesday.

"The focus of this legislation is wrong", Sen. "I'm very good at real estate", he told reporters. "Our priority, our objective, should be restarting the economy".

As bipartisan talks unfold, the White House is now suggesting a narrower relief package may be all that's possible with Friday's approaching deadlines.

Rand Paul said, "It's just very frustrating to me because it's people who go home and say we're fiscally conservative, [and] are now in a bidding contest with the Democrats to see how much money they can spend".

Pelosi has resisted tackling a relief package in piecemeal fashion, arguing that broader aid is needed for Americans.

"We have stood ready to negotiate for more than two months", she said. (This is the federal benefit bestowed in addition to state benefits.) Then the aid would be phased out to a new benefit that ensures no more than 70% of an employee's previous pay.

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