Republicans continue to negotiate among themselves but broadly oppose an extension beyond this week of the $600 weekly federal jobless benefit that millions of Americans are collecting. Complicating Republican talks is the White House, which is trying to cut funding for COVID-19 testing and demanding a payroll tax cut that many in the president’s party oppose…

At a meeting of Republican lawmakers Tuesday, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas cast doubt on the spending talks, asking, “What the hell are we doing?” according to a Republican source familiar with his remarks…

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.

“Clearly, they have the ability to prevent us from passing anything, and that’s been their mindset lately,” he said. “And so I think it’s pretty clear they’re not irrelevant. We do have to talk to them.”