Senate Majority Whip John Thune (RS.D.) warned on Wednesday that the larger the price tag for any relief package, the more difficult it is to get Senate Republicans on board.
“If the number gets too high, whatever is passed in the Senate will be passed with mostly Democrat votes and a handful of Republicans, so if we want to maximize, then within a realistic range Have to stay. Will vote for it, “said Thun.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) also suspected that Republicans would support the $ 1.5 trillion package. “We’ll have to see what’s in it, but I think it’s hard,” he said.
But Democratic congressmen, who had come under pressure from liberal House Democrats to push for additional federal money, immediately captured the president’s tweet. Specifically, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) faced increasing unrest from her most vulnerable members for taking action. Trump’s tweet, however, shifted the focus to Republicans, at least this time.
“We are encouraged that after months of Senate Republicans insisting on reducing the enormous needs of the American people, President Trump is now asking Republicans to ‘go too high’ in the next coronovirus relief package,” Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement. “We look forward to hearing from the president’s interlocutors that they will finally meet us halfway.”
The total amount of the new coronovirus relief package is an important point in negotiations between Democratic leaders and the White House. Democrats are now pushing for a $ 2.2 trillion proposal, while Treasury Secretary Steven Menuchin, a top negotiator, indicated that the White House would be open to going up to $ 1.5 trillion.
Nearly the entire Senate GOP caucus voted in favor of a coronovirus relief package of about $ 650 billion last week, with $ 300 billion in new spending. The measure, which was blocked by Democrats, would have provided $ 300 in weekly unemployment benefits through December, another round of funding for the paycheck protection program and liability protection, for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Q) A major priority.
When asked about Trump’s tweet on Wednesday, Senate Republicans highlighted the so-called “skinny” bill as the status of the caucus.
“I think there was a marker that was put there,” Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) Said. “I think politically the president probably still benefits from making more demands, but I think it was clear that 52 senators had voted … if you did anything other than what we voted for If done, you’ll lose a bunch of fiscal conservatives for the past week. ”Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) was the only Republican in the caucus to vote against advancing the measure.
“We did the right thing,” added. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). “The President has his own opinion, we have.”
However, some Republicans are hoping a deal can be reached before lawmakers reach home in early October to campaign before the November election.
The House Problem Solvers Caucus on Tuesday released a bipartisan, nearly $ 2 trillion coronavirus relief package that includes $ 500 billion for state and local government, a problematic provision for most Senate Republicans. Pelosi has also rejected negotiations for a smaller measure than the $ 2.2 trillion proposal.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows spoke positively on Wednesday of the Problem Solvers proposal, which he described as “very thoughtful” and “very meaningful” if you see Republicans and Democrats coming together in a bipartisan manner. ”
“They don’t speak for this speaker,” Meadows said. “I think he has been very clear about this in the last 12 hours. But if it provides a foundation where there is really a willingness to strike a deal, we are encouraged by it.
Despite months of partisan gridlock, some Senate Republicans insist on an agreement is still possible.
“I think there had to be a deal here,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). “My concern is that the window probably closes later this month and we should be busy figuring out what we can all agree on. And I think the number is going to be over our trillion dollars. “