WASHINGTON – Lawmakers in Washington are slated to vote a newly constructed, scaled-down, stimulus bill for Americans struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic this week.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) says among the proposals is a $300 federal boost for unemployment benefits and fresh relief for small businesses, but cuts out money for a second round of stimulus checks that were included in an earlier GOP proposal. It also doesn’t offer new funding for cash-strapped states, which Democrats support.
If approved, the additional $300 benefit would likely be in addition to the $300 weekly payment authorized by President Donald Trump in August. However, Trump’s benefit is being paid out of federal disaster relief funds and is only expected to last five weeks or so. Also, not everyone currently receiving unemployment benefits is eligible for Trump’s payment.
“We’re going to get the stonewalling of Democratic leaders out from behind closed doors and put those to a vote out here on the floor,” said McConnell.
Senators expecting to bring the aid package to a vote on Thursday, but it’s not expected to get the 60 votes it needs to send it to the House, where its already facing opposition.
“It’s only to check the box so that some of his endangered Republican senators can go home and say, ‘Well, see I tried.’ But it isn’t trying,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D). “It’s not even an attempt to do the right thing, and Mitch McConnell knows that because he has to satisfy those Republicans in his caucus who don’t want to spend one more dollar.”
Republicans also put forth a $1 trillion stimulus bill in July, but it never came to a vote.