GOP Senators Work On Smaller Stimulus Bill Totaling $1.3 Trillion

( Republicans in the Senate are working on piecing together their version of the next coronavirus stimulus package as a counter to the House Democrats’ version that has already been passed.

Republicans’ version of the package is likely to be significantly less than that of the Democrats’ Democrats proposed a $3 trillion wide-sweeping bill, but Republicans are leery of spending that much money. The current version of the GOP bill is reportedly about $1.3 trillion.

Speaking on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said of the next stimulus package:

“It won’t be $3 trillion. That bill is not going anywhere.”

While details of exactly what will be in the Republicans’ proposal are unclear at this time, it is likely to include financial aid to businesses, hospitals and schools, while also adding liability protections for businesses.

The House Democrats’ proposal also included another round of direct payments to Americans — including an increase in the dollar amount for dependent children, and more support for unemployment benefits.

Recently, President Donald Trump has expressed his support for another round of direct payments to Americans. He even said he would work on getting money into the hands of as many Americans as possible as quickly as possible, and that the amount may exceed what Democrats have proposed.

That being said, sources have told The Washington Post that some Senate Republicans have considered lowering the income threshold to target the payments to lower-income individuals only.

As part of the CARES Act passed in March, stimulus payments of $1,200 for individuals and $500 for each dependent child were sent to people who earned $75,000 or less. Payments diminished or weren’t given at all for people who make more than that.

The sources said some Republicans are considering limiting that income threshold to $40,000, which would eliminate a lot of people who received checks the first time around.

McConnell has mentioned that $40,000 number a few times in recent weeks, but he hasn’t said specifically whether he wanted the payments to only go to people earning less than that, or whether those are the people who need it the most.

On Wednesday, he said:

“The people that I think have been hit the hardest during this whole episode have been people making $40,000 a year or less. Many of them work in the hospitality business, hotels, restaurants — we’re going to be acutely aware of that particular segment of our population going into this next package that we’ll be putting together in the next few weeks.

“These folks who’ve been in the hospitality field who’ve been hit so hard, I think those direct checks were particularly significant for them.”

Republicans have urged caution when crafting and passing economic stimulus package. They have pushed patience to see the full effects of previous bills on the economy. That line of thinking will certainly clash with that of Democrats, and may lead to a big fight between the parties as negotiations begin.

Connecticut Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat, spoke to this recently, saying:

“It is unclear to me right now how we will resolve several contentious issues. It’s going to be a rough road. There are a lot of competing interests. A lot.”