White House, Congressional GOP Continue To Clash Over Stimulus Bill
Back-and-forth negotiations Tuesday between the White House and Senate Republicans yielded little agreement -- but a lot of ire -- over the scope and cost of the next pandemic funding legislation.
The Washington Post:
White House, GOP In Disarray Over Coronavirus Spending Plan As Deadline Nears On Expiring Emergency Aid
A major intraparty rift widened between the White House and Senate Republicans on Tuesday as they stumbled to formulate a unified coronavirus budget plan, lacking agreement on policy goals, spending parameters and even deadlines. The Republican and White House positions changed multiple times as the day went on, with some GOP lawmakers refusing to rally behind President Trump’s demand for a payroll tax cut while others worked to convince White House emissaries that more money was needed for testing and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Werner, Stein and Min Kim, 7/21)
Republicans Battle Over COVID-19 Package's Big Price Tag
Republican lawmakers led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) want to keep the price tag of the next round of coronavirus relief legislation at $1 trillion, but that is looking like it will be a challenge. The variety of proposals now being pushed by the Trump administration, GOP lawmakers and Democrats could easily push the new coronavirus relief bill beyond the $2 trillion mark, lawmakers and aides acknowledge. (Bolton, 7/22)
Republicans And White House Divided On Stimulus Proposal: 'I'm Not A No, I'm A Hell No'
With fewer than three weeks to go until the August recess -- and with the virus still ravaging many corners of the country -- Tuesday's negotiations marked little progress, and instead evolved into a day of venting sessions for rank-and-file members, each with his or her own idea of how to tackle the next chapter of spending. It all comes just days before a $600 federal enhancement to unemployment insurance is set to expire. (Mattingly and Fox, 7/21)
'What In The Hell Are We Doing?' Senate Republicans Clash Over Coronavirus Relief
McConnell said that after he gets Republicans on board, his proposal will be used as a starting point for bipartisan discussion. He needs at least seven Democratic votes. ... Asked later whether he expects a bill to pass by end of next week, McConnell laughed and said "no," according to a pool report. (Kapur, Tsirkin, Haake and Hunt, 7/21)
The New York Times:
Coronavirus Relief Bill: Republicans Eye Stimulus Checks And Billions For Schools
Republican leaders labored on Tuesday to avert a party revolt over the next round of coronavirus aid, announcing that they planned to provide $105 billion for schools, direct payments to American families and more aid for struggling small businesses as rank-and-file lawmakers balked at the proposal’s cost. Even as Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, divulged details of his emerging plan, expected to total roughly $1 trillion, President Trump had yet to sign on and Republicans remained deeply divided over several key elements. (Cochrane and Broadwater, 7/21)
Democrats Poke GOP Over Coronavirus Relief: Where's Your Bill?
Top Democrats on Tuesday pressed GOP leaders to pick up the pace on coronavirus relief, needling the Republicans with the unsubtle reminder that the sides can't negotiate a deal without a GOP bill. "They're all in disarray — you hear different Republicans say different things — and we can't negotiate on a vague concept. That's not how it's going to work," Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters. "We need a specific bill," he added. (Lillis, 7/21)
McConnell Previews GOP Coronavirus Relief Bill
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday provided a broad outline for what to expect in the forthcoming Republican coronavirus relief proposal, including help for schools, small businesses and testing. McConnell, speaking from the Senate floor, indicated that he would soon be unveiling the Republican proposal after swapping ideas with the administration in recent weeks. "The majority will be laying down another historic proposal very soon," McConnell said. (Carney, 7/21)
In related news —
Healthcare Industry Pushes Back On Trump Administration Plan To Cut Testing Funds
The White House has indicated it doesn't want Senate Republicans to push for any additional funding for testing and contact tracing activities in the next major COVID-19 relief package lawmakers are hoping to pass. The Trump administration in June issued guidance letting insurers off the hook for paying for testing for public health surveillance or occupational health purposes. Lawmakers seem unlikely to force insurers to pay; getting government funding for tests is the safest option so employers, patients and labs aren't stuck with the bills. (Cohrs, 7/22)
Lawmakers Perplexed By Billions In Unspent Covid-19 Testing Money
Despite severe shortages in coronavirus testing supplies and lags in results, the Trump administration is still sitting on billions of dollars in unused funding that Congress allocated months ago. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have questions about why the money has not been used as testing continues to fall well short of the national need. (Fox, 7/21)