Senate Republicans are coordinating a new relief bill proposal in anticipation of the Senate's return from August recess next week (https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/514549-senate-gop-goal-is-to-vote-next-week-on-targeted-coronavirus-relief-bill). They will be meeting with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Tuesday via conference call. Conference Chairman John Barrasso of Wyoming (pictured) has said that this new bill will be "focused" and "targeted" in comparison to previous relief bills.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had introduced a previous relief bill back in May, but it did not make it past the Senate. Pelosi's bill would have cost $3 trillion and included several provisions that Republicans criticized as irrelevant. The $2 trillion C.A.R.E.S. Act and the subsequent smaller business bailouts of the spring have been the only federal funding passed since the pandemic began in March.
While Republicans still need to approve this new bill before introducing it, Democrats are already expected to block it. This could serve as a significant talking point during campaign season for both sides. While Democrats had initially wanted to force the hands of Republicans with their length 1,800 page relief bill/wishlist, Republicans can now turn to this proposal to try and prove their commitment to providing relief to the American people. In turn, Democrats could continue to blame Republicans for failing to provide adequate measures to help struggling Americans while COVID restrictions have been in effect.
Until greater reopening measures can be guaranteed across the nation, a large portion of the American population will remain economically disadvantaged. Congress will need to take action sooner than later, but continued partisan politics could prevent this from happening in a timely manner. Unfortunately this could mean that no substantive relief would come until after November 3rd.
Image Credit: Greg Nash