US Republicans propose $1 trillion coronavirus aid package
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Senate Republicans on Monday proposed a $1 trillion coronavirus aid package hammered out with the White House, paving the way for talks with Democrats on how to help Americans as expanded unemployment benefits for millions of workers expire this week.
The proposal also reduces emergency unemployment benefits by two-thirds from $600 a week to $200 a week. Republicans had argued previously that the high benefits were deterring Americans from seeking employment.
This significant plan, which was internally opposed by conservatives wary of rising spending, reflects rising concern among Donald Trump’s allies about the deterioration in US economic prospects fewer than 100 days before the November election. “We have one foot in the pandemic and one foot in the recovery. The American people need more help,” Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate majority leader, said as he introduced the plan, which was structured as a series of bills.
Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the GOP proposal too limited compared to the Democrats’ $3 trillion proposal passed by the House in May.
“In short, the Republican plan is too little, too late.”
McConnell called that House bill a “socialist manifesto” and urged Democrats to work with Republicans on his plan.
“The Senate will not waste time with pointless partisanship.”
McConnell said the GOP package focused on getting children back to school and employees back to work and protecting corporations from lawsuits.
The Republican proposal also includes measures not directly related to the COVID-19 outbreak, including $1.8 billion for construction of a new FBI headquarters in Washington, something championed by President Donald Trump, who owns a hotel across the street from the current building.
The extra $600 dollars in unemployment funds – which expire this week – have been a sticking point for many Republicans, who say they encourage Americans to stay home rather than go back to work, as the expanded benefits exceed the former wages of some workers.