Schumer Slams Skinny GOP Stimulus Bill, Urges Democrats To Stick Together As Washington Remains Deadlocked

TOPLINE

 In a Thursday letter to Democrats first reported by Politico, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) urged his party to remain unified as the GOP prepares to release a new “skinny” stimulus proposal worth $500 billion. 

KEY FACTS

Earlier this week, Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Barrosso (R-Wyo.) indicated that the GOP hopes to vote on the skinny bill next week, when senators return from their Labor Day recess. 

Sen. Schumer’s letter is further indication that even if the new package is approved by Republicans in the Senate, it’s unlikely to gain widespread support in the Democrat-controlled House. 

The hope among Republicans who up until now have struggled to reach internal agreement on any new proposal, Politico notes, is that a Republican majority supporting the skinny bill might prompt some Democrats to accept a smaller package in the interest of expediting federal aid. 

So far, Democrats led by Sen. Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have been adamant that any relief bill be worth at least $2.2 trillion—that’s the compromise they proposed for the White House last month, though the White House rejected the offer.  

House Democrats passed their proposal for the next bill—the $3 trillion Heroes Act—in May; the GOP skinny bill is worth just one-sixth of that. 

Crucial quote

“Republicans may call their proposal ‘skinny,’ but it would be more appropriate to call it ‘emaciated,’” Sen. Schumer wrote. “Their proposal appears to be completely inadequate and, by every measure, fails to meet the needs of the American people.” 

Key background

Top Democrats and White House negotiators have been deadlocked for weeks over what the next round of federal coronavirus aid should look like. The smaller GOP bill would not include a raft of Democratic priorities, Sen. Schumer pointed out, including money for rental assistance, nutrition programs, state and local governments (something White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has described as the biggest sticking point in negotiations), or elections; the bill would also leave out another round of stimulus checks. The bill will reportedly include a $300 weekly federal unemployment supplement, more funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, a liability shield for businesses that reopen, and more money for schools and healthcare providers. 

What to watch for 

The end of the government’s fiscal year is September 30. Before then, lawmakers will need to agree on a new budget for the fiscal year beginning October 1. It’s looking increasingly likely that discussions over more stimulus spending will be tied up in those already fraught negotiations.

Further reading

Thanks To Stimulus Spending, U.S. Debt Expected To Exceed The Size Of The Entire Economy Next Year (Forbes)

Economy Needs At Least $1.3 Trillion In New Stimulus To Sustain Recovery, Bridgewater CIO Says (Forbes)

Mnuchin: We Want To Extend Unemployment Insurance And Send Out More Stimulus Checks (Forbes)

Trump Willing To Sign $1.3 Trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Bill, Chief Of Staff Says (Forbes)

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