A member of the Senate’s GOP leadership, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), said the upper chamber wants to move quickly on a CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus relief bill after Labor Day, which is Monday, Sept. 7.
“That’s the goal,” Barrasso told PBS Newshour on Tuesday, referring to voting on a “skinny” COVID-19 stimulus measure.
“We have a focused, targeted solution that we hope that the House would pass and the House would agree to,” he said. The legislation, he added, is “focused on getting people back to work, getting kids back to school” and leaves out “so many things that [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi has put in her bill that are unrelated to coronavirus.”
Barrasso said Senate Republicans are having conference calls every morning.
“We have one again today with Secretary Mnuchin and the White House chief of staff to go over that, and that’s the goal—is to come back and vote to move that,” he said.
Any bill that is put forth by Republicans would have to secure 60 votes to pass the Senate. Democrats are expected to block the measure.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), in a letter to other Democrats, suggested that the GOP’s latest proposal will not be supported by Democrats.
“Republicans may call their proposal ‘skinny,’ but it would be more appropriate to call it ’emaciated,’” Schumer wrote Thursday to his members. “Their proposal appears to be completely inadequate and, by every measure, fails to meet the needs of the American people.”
Schumer suggested that the latest proposal doesn’t have a chance of passing in the Democratic-controlled House, saying that GOP leaders are only trying to give the impression that they are taking action. It comes weeks after talks between Democrats and the White House stalled, with unemployment insurance and funding for state and local governments being the biggest sticking points.
This week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called on Congress to resume negotiations on COVID-19 relief talks after they stalled last month.
“While we continue to see signs of a strong economic recovery, we are sensitive to the fact that there is more work to be done, and certain areas of the economy require additional relief,” Mnuchin said while testifying in front of a House panel.
He called for the passage of measures that both Democrats and the GOP can agree on.
“I believe a bipartisan agreement still should be reached and would provide substantial funds for schools, testing, vaccines, [Payment Protection Program loans] for small businesses, continued enhanced unemployment benefits, child care, nutrition, agriculture, and the U.S. Postal Service, along with liability protection for universities, schools, and businesses,” Mnuchin said.