As July comes closer to an end, Senate Republicans have begun putting more focus on its Phase 4 COVID-19 relief proposal. Mitch McConnell wants to find a middle ground between the House Democrats’ bloated $3.4 trillion “Heroes Act” proposal and a strict stimulus-only approach favored by some Capitol Hill Republicans. McConnell told reporters that he wants the next bill to focus on “kids, jobs and health care,” and avoid state bailouts and other hobby-horse agenda items tossed into the House proposal.
McConnell’s approach has two problems. The first is that it’s still fairly ambiguous despite several weeks of debate over it. The second is that it may be too focused to please the White House:
A Republican-drafted coronavirus relief package will include $105 billion to help schools safely reopen, more tax rebate checks to families, a “targeted second round” of small-business loans and liability protection for health care workers, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday.
Outlining the major elements of a GOP proposal that could be unveiled in coming days, the Kentucky Republican made no mention of an extension of expanded unemployment benefits or aid to state and local governments — two top priorities of Democrats.
Nor did McConnell mention a possible deferral of payroll taxes borne by workers, similar to a break companies got in the $2 trillion March aid package, which the Trump administration has been pushing despite GOP misgivings.
Instead, McConnell said the package would center on “kids, jobs and health care” in an attempt to find a “middle ground” between another massive rescue effort and a simple economic stimulus measure.