Despite President Donald Trump’s speech last week calling off negotiations on an updated coronavirus spending package, the White House Monday unveiled an updated $1.8 trillion bill aimed at closing the gap between Democrats and Republicans on providing economic relief to Americans still feeling the after-effects of coronavirus-related shutdowns.
For Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the bill is likely dead on arrival, but the White House insists that it will be able to get Republicans on board with the bill, giving them the ability to move it through the Senate.
CNN reports that the new bill ups the topline spending limit to $1.8 trillion from $1 trillion — just $4.4 billion less than the Democrats are looking to spend — and recalculates some of the GOP’s priorities but makes individual $1200 payments to Americans a spending priority. The White House clearly believes, according to its press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, that Republicans will eventually come on board with the changes.
“I believe Senate Republicans will ultimately come along with what the president wants — the president noted that yesterday,” She said in an interview with Fox News Monday. “We believe Senate Republicans are not what’s blocking this. It is Democrats.”
White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow echoed her sentiment.
“I think if an agreement can be reached, they will go along with it,” Kudlow told CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, referring to the new $1.8 trillion spending bill.
Republicans, though, don’t seem to see it that way. On a call with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows over the weekend, Republicans were united, but against the bill.
“While the sentiment was that talks with Pelosi should continue, it was clear that the White House plan had virtually no chance of passing the GOP-controlled Senate,” CNN reports. ‘Sen. Rick Scott, a Florida Republican, told Mnuchin and Meadows, flatly, ‘I don’t get it’ when it came to why the White House was going down their current path, according to two sources familiar with the call. Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn said it would be a ‘death knell’ to the Senate Republican majority and it would serve to ‘deflate’ the base just three weeks before the election.”
It may not matter what the GOP thinks, though, given that the Democrats aren’t on board with a compromise coronavirus relief bill. Although previously disagreements have centered on whether the package should bail out cities and states suffering the economic consequences of lockdowns, Pelosi’s team now says that they’re looking for the next coronavirus relief package to contain a long-term plan to “crush” the virus — something few entities, let alone the White House, are prepared to commit to, given how little is still known about the novel coronavirus.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), at least, doesn’t believe there will be any resolution before Election Day.
“The situation is kinda murky, and I think the murkiness is a result of the proximity to the election,” he told media over the weekend. “And everybody trying to elbow for political advantage. I’d like to see us rise above that like we did back in March and April but I think that’s unlikely in the next three weeks.”