Republicans Ready A More Modest Stimulus Bill

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Republican lawmakers are aiming to release a narrower pandemic stimulus bill as soon as this week, CNBC reported.

The GOP is considering a $500 billion plan that would only involve concerns with bipartisan support, CNBC reported, citing sources.

That could mean more unemployment insurance, more authorization for small business loans, and funding for schools, coronavirus treatment, testing and vaccines. There is no current proposal for direct check payments to individuals, according to sources spoken to by CNBC.

The unemployment benefits would sit at around $300 or $400 per week, CNBC reported.

But the legislation likely has little chance of going further, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top Democratic lawmaker, won’t restart negotiations unless the Republicans raise their price tag to double its existing $1 trillion proposal. She said Democrats “have compromised” so far and welcomed Republicans to meet them halfway, according to CNBC.

Mark Meadows, White House chief of staff, reportedly tried to reach out to Pelosi’s office on Tuesday (Aug. 25), but Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said there was no mention of resuming negotiations, CNBC reported. Meadows said he suspected Pelosi would hold out until September, the deadline to reach a negotiation before a government shutdown loomed.

Talks about another government stimulus package have been going on for months now, with the two parties at a standstill over several sticking points. Democrats have pushed for a multi-trillion-dollar package, including more individual stimulus checks and unemployment benefits among other assistance.

Republicans, meanwhile, pushed a $1 trillion package with slightly reduced unemployment benefits from the recently expired $600-per-week bonuses, along with more Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) money, liability protections for businesses and funding for the U.S. Postal Service.

The CARES Act, passed in March directly after the pandemic touched down on U.S. shores, passed the extra $600 a week for jobless benefits as a way to offset losses from mass unemployment. A recent report noted that the country spent $250 billion on just that aspect of the financial aid.

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