- Trump’s White House proposed a $1.8 trillion stimulus package this weekend, but House Democrats and Senate Republicans both took issue with its contents.
- Democrats say that the bill doesn’t provide enough funds for testing, tracing, and treatment of COVID-19, while Republicans say the price tag is still too high.
- At this rate, it is looking increasingly unlikely that a stimulus package will be passed before the election, which means we won’t get another round of $1,200 checks.
Months ago, the House passed the HEROES Act, which would have built upon many of the benefits of the CARES Act. The $3.4 billion stimulus package would have included a second round of $1,200 checks, aid for state and local governments, additional unemployment benefits, support for small businesses, and more funds for COVID-19 testing. Senate Republicans balked at the price tag and refused to bring it up for a vote. Months later, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released an updated $2.2 billion HEROES Act, but Republicans wouldn’t budge. Now, with less than a month until the election, the prospects of a second stimulus package are fading quickly.
In an attempt to close the gap between Senate Republicans and House Democrats, the Trump administration offered a $1.8 trillion relief package last week, but both parties had issues with the proposal. Republicans say it is still far too expensive, while Democrats think it’s insufficient and doesn’t provide enough funds for testing.
“The news is filled with the numbers in terms of dollars. The heart of the matter is: can we allow the virus to rage on and ignore science as the Administration proposes, or will they accept the scientific strategic plan in the Heroes Act to crush the virus,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to House Democrats on Sunday, putting the blame rather squarely on Trump’s shoulders. “We have other differences in terms of who benefits from the spending. But in terms of addressing testing, tracing and treatment, what the Trump Administration has offered is wholly insufficient.”
Speaker Pelosi says that health experts want $75 billion to fund coronavirus testing, tracing, treatment, and vaccine development, while the proposal from the White House includes only $45 billion for these efforts. She also took issue with the lack of a national plan and the fact that the bill doesn’t appropriately address the pandemic’s disproportionate effects on communities of color, territories, and tribal communities in the US.
“Republicans want to do it. We’re having a hard time with Nancy Pelosi,” President Trump said Sunday on Fox News, but as The Wall Street Journal reports, several Senate Republicans stated on a conference call on Saturday that they have no interest in passing another major stimulus package, even if House Democrats and the Trump administration could work out their differences and come to an agreement on the price of the bill.
There are countless hurdles in the way of another coronavirus relief package, but even as Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin move closer to one another with their offers, Senate Republicans appear to be unilaterally opposed to the bill, whether it comes in at $1.8 trillion, $2.2 trillion, or $3.4 trillion.