According to a recent Reuters report, the country is at least one step closer to seeing the passage of the next round of coronavirus relief.
On Sunday, presidential aides stated that the administration had agreed with the Senate package for a Phase 4 stimulus package that is about $2 trillion cheaper than the proposal House Democrats want to pass.
From the outset, Democrats have been trying to use COVID-19 pandemic relief bills as a blank check for all of their big-government projects, and this latest stimulus effort has been no exception.
The GOP did not bite, however, and the proposed legislation has been sitting on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) desk for several weeks now.
The bill Republicans are pushing is significantly pared down from Democrat demands, but it is still probably still filled with spending that may not be necessary.
The sticking points
One of the major obstacles to this legislation is going to be the new guidelines concerning unemployment compensation.
Republicans are now holding firm on providing additional assistance, but not providing workers with more money than they would make on the job and this is something in which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has no interest.
If she has her way, the blanket $600 additional weekly payment workers have been receiving will continue to go out to anyone who qualifies for unemployment.
Under the prior bill, someone making $600 a week at their regular job who had since been furloughed would be collecting as much as $1,000 a week in total benefits, giving them zero incentive to return to work.
Such a scenario is something Republicans say made it more difficult for businesses to recruit staff to assist with reopening, further stalling economic recovery.
Democrats are sure to fight against the GOP’s proposal in order to make themselves look like heroes to the unemployed, so doubts about its passage remain unless Republicans buckle like they did the first time.
For now, Democrats may be assuming that that if they hold firm, Republicans will eventually cave to their demands rather than be depicted as the bad guys, and if recent experience is any indication, they may unfortunately be right.