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Senate Republicans Push Narrow $500BN Stimulus Bill For Next Week As Overall Talks Stumble

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Senate Republicans are assembling a $500 billion 'narrow' COVID-19 relief package which will be ready as early as next week, as negotiations on a larger overall package remain at an impasse.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told CNBC on Tuesday that the biggest stumbling block between Congressional lawmakers is the amount of money allocated for state and local governments – with Democrats insisting on $915 billion out of their overall $2.2 trillion proposal (down from more than $3 trillion), while the GOP is standing firm at $150 billion in new funds on top of $150 billion previously allocated for state and local needs.

"Probably the biggest stumbling block that remains is the amount of money that would go to state and local help," said Meadows.

"The speaker is still at $915 billion dollars, which is just not a number that's based on reality, and certainly not a number that represents the lost revenues for state and local governments."

"We actually have talked about giving great flexibility for the $150 billion that was allocated in the previous CARES Act, in addition to another $150 billion that would go there which would overall give $300 billion in terms of flexibility and additional funds to state and localwhich should represent the actual loss that we see," Meadows continued. 

"If you take the GDP reduction that we've experienced over the last quarter, and based on projections now – that should indicate about a $275 billion loss in revenues."

Meadows added that he expects Senate Republicans to put forth a bill sometime next week that should pass the 60-vote threshold required to pass, which would be "more targeted" than the House Democrats' proposal, and would include around $500 billion in additional financial aid according to Reuters (though not heard in the clip below).

Watch:

Meanwhile, in a poll conducted by Franklin Templeton and Gallup, 70% of Americans say they would support the government sending an additional economic impact payment (EIP) to all qualified adults.

Despite deep polarization on a number of policies related to COVID-19, an additional EIP receives strong support among both Democrats and Republicans. Democrats (82%) are most likely to favor the federal government sending another direct payment to all qualified U.S. adults (based on their income level), with about two-thirds of Republicans (64%) and independents (66%) saying the same.

As for the size of the stimulus checks, support for setting maximum payments at $900 or more per month is high on both sides of the aisle. "Two-thirds of Democrats who support an additional EIP (68%) think each qualified adult should receive $900 or more. A majority of Republicans (60%) and independents (65%) who support this policy also believe that the payments should be $900 or more."

More via CNBC:

Talks between the White House and Democratic congressional leaders broke down last month after the two sides failed to agree on the terms of a fifth package designed to contain the economic fallout caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have represented President Donald Trump in the negotiations with Democrats, who are being led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. 

While some aspects of a potential rescue bill, such as direct payments to Americans and more money for small businesses, have bipartisan support, the White House is opposed to spending as much as the Democrats have asked for on items such as unemployment assistance and funding for state and local governments. 

Amid the impasse, the GOP has floated the idea of a stopgap "skinny" bill which would carve out only areas on which both sides agree, however Democrats have rejected the idea. 

According to Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill in statements last week, "Democrats have compromised in these negotiations," adding "We offered to come down $1 trillion if the White House would come up $1 trillion. We welcome the White House back to the negotiating table but they must meet us halfway."


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