On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said his party plans to introduce a “targeted” coronavirus relief package and will hold a vote on it this week.
McConnell’s announcement came on the heels of an Associated Press report that said hopes are dimming for another coronavirus relief bill. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows also told Bloomberg the administration is working with Senate Republicans to secure approval for a scaled-down economic stimulus plan.
Talks between top Democrats and the Trump administration broke off last month and remain off track, with the bipartisan unity that drove almost $3 trillion in COVID-19 rescue legislation into law this spring.
Treasury Department sending some stimulus payments on debit cards
Expectations in July and August that a fifth bipartisan pandemic response bill would eventually be birthed despite increased obstacles has been replaced by genuine pessimism. Recent COVID-related conversations among key players have led to nothing.
Trump said Monday that Democrats “don’t want to make a deal because they think that if the country does as badly as possible ... that’s good for the Democrats.”
“I am taking the high road,” he told reporters at the White House. “I’m taking the high road by not seeing them.”
IRS updates tool to help track stimulus payments
All of this could imperil the chances for another round of $1,200 direct payments delivered under Trump’s name, the restoration of more generous unemployment benefits to those who’ve lost their jobs because of the pandemic, updates to a popular business subsidy program, and money to help schools reopen and states and local governments to avoid layoffs.
“I personally would like to see one more rescue package, but I must tell you the environment in Washington right now is exceedingly partisan because of the proximity to the election,” McConnell said last week. "We’ve been in discussion now for the last month or so with no results so far. So I can’t promise one final package.″