The next coronavirus stimulus bill is looking like it will pit Democrats against Republicans against Republicans.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said yesterday that the next stimulus bill to help the country battle back against the coronavirus will cost at least $1.3 trillion. She also says this is not enough.
“They (Republicans) know there’s going to be a bill. … First it was going to be no bill. And then it was going to be some little bill. Now it’s $1.3 [trillion]. That’s not enough,” she told reporters yesterday.
Both parties are at odds over a number of key topics that each side wants to include in the next bill. They are also up against a looming deadline. The lawmakers leave Washington at the beginning of August and won’t return until after Labor Day.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate expects to reveal its plan next week. He added: “kids in school, jobs and health care are likely to be the focus of the bill.”
Enhanced Unemployment Benefits
Most pressing for the Dems is the extension of the enhanced unemployment benefits that expire at the end of the month. Both McConnell and President Trump’s economic advisors have shown little interest in extending the benefits. They rightfully point out that it allowed people to make more money at home than they did while working at their jobs.
President Trump has said on a handful of occasions that instead of enhanced unemployment benefits. However, he wants to implement a “going back to work” bonus for those that rejoin the workforce. It remains unknown if the Senate plan will include any re-employment bonus or any other unemployment relief.
Republicans have thus far ignored the Democrats' request that renters and homeowners get additional financial assistance. Pelosi called this “very urgent” as the foreclosure and eviction moratoriums come to an end.
Dems are still hoping to funnel money to poorly-managed state and local governments to paper over their financial mismanagement. Republicans have refused to send aid. They stated that pandemic relief shouldn’t be used to bail out the states for pre-pandemic mistakes.
McConnell has said any new stimulus bill will include liability protections for doctors and businesses that reopen. Democrats have opposed the idea. However, Pelosi said she would like to see how a protection plan would be structured.
A Rift Among Republicans
The Republicans are busy keeping the Dems from creating a nation of highly-paid couch potatoes. On the other hand, there’s a growing divide between two of President Trump’s top lieutenants.
National Economic Council chief Larry Kudlow wants the next stimulus bill to include a payroll tax cut. He wants to add this to spur economic growth. Kudlow has long advocated for the elimination of the payroll tax, and in turn, use those savings as a wage subsidy the government would give to employers who would in turn pass it on to their employees.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin prefers to send another stimulus check. He believes that the Democrat-held House would never approve a payroll tax cut. Mnuchin has reportedly said that he has to focus on a policy that Pelosi will agree to for the bill to ultimately pass and get funded.
According to a GOP lobbyist, “Kudlow looks at Mnuchin as a Wall Street type who hasn't fought the good fight over tax cuts as he has since the Reagan years. Mnuchin thinks Larry is being unrealistic because there's no way Nancy Pelosi will pass a tax cut and give the president that type of victory before November.”