Senate GOP leaders seek to lock down Republican support for new stimulus package after weeks of party divisions


On daily GOP conference calls, Senate Republicans discussed their next steps and rallied around their new approach which is a tiny fraction of the $ 2.2 trillion price that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi , offered to the White House during their blocked negotiations, according to sources on the calls. The White House has rejected the price of the speaker, which is down from the more than $ 3 trillion bill Pelosi passed through the House in May.

The new Senate GOP goal, according to sources, is to ensure that there are 51 votes to demonstrate that a clear majority in the chamber supports the reduced approach. With Senate control at stake in November, Republicans say, a united front would give them a stronger hand to present to voters, as many of their constituents are eager for a new round of stimulus and millions of people. are still out of work.

But the plan would have virtually no chance of becoming law given fierce opposition from Democrats, who say it doesn’t go far enough.

Still, Republicans are confident they are getting closer to that goal after weeks of disunity over the next phase of the stimulus, according to Republican sources.

A significant number of Republicans revolted against the roughly $ 1 trillion proposal that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled in late July, but the Kentucky Republican never presented that plan for a vote . Now, Republicans believe they can win the support of nearly all of their 53 members for a plan at half the cost.

Even if Republicans manage to get 51 votes, the plan would fail because it would take 60 votes to overcome a Democratic filibuster.

And the fight for the next round of stimulus could be part of the battle to keep government open after September 30, when federal agencies are strapped for cash in the absence of a new funding law.

With the Senate on hold until next week, the exact timing of the vote on the GOP’s new plan is unclear. But senior Republicans believe that once it is clear there will be 51 votes, McConnell will take the necessary procedural steps to hold a confrontational vote to get the measure to the ground.

Senator John Barrasso, the No. 3 Senate GOP leader, told reporters on Tuesday morning that the Senate GOP plans to hold a procedural vote to resume the clean-lined stimulus package Republican senators developed over the holidays August. He called the bill a “targeted and targeted solution” and said, “That’s the point – it’s to come back and vote to get there.”

The Republican plan would include about $ 10 billion in funding for the U.S. Postal Service – as well as $ 105 billion for schools and the extension of small business loans under the Paycheck Protection Program. While Democrats have called for the renewal of $ 600 a week in unemployment benefits, Republicans are pushing for $ 300 a week for the unemployed.

In a conference call with the Democratic House caucus on Monday, Pelosi told members that state and local government funding – which Democrats want to fund to the tune of nearly $ 1 trillion – remains a point of focus. major friction, sources said on the call. . The speaker told her members that she didn’t think the White House wanted a deal that could become law.

After speaking with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows last week, Pelosi rejected the GOP’s approach.

“Democrats are united, but Republicans are in disarray,” Pelosi said in a letter to his colleagues. “News reports say Mitch McConnell went down to $ 500 billion in his proposal and Mark Meadows says the White House could go to $ 1.3 trillion. None of these proposals would meet the needs of American workers and families. ”

Meadows also suggested on Tuesday that state and local aid remain the biggest obstacle to getting a deal.

“The speaker is still at $ 915 billion, which just isn’t a reality-based number,” Meadows told CNBC.

CNN’s Betsy Klein and Phil Mattingly contributed to this report.


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