Senate GOP starts to unveil coronavirus proposal amid deep discord

Millions of newly unemployed Americans have been receiving the additional $600 unemployment payment from the federal government, but that boost starts running out at the end of the week. With a federal eviction moratorium also ending, many Americans could be even more severely affected by the economic slowdown.

Democrats have seized on the GOP divisions to blast Trump and the Republicans while pushing the House-passed $3 trillion Heroes Act.

“It’s in the middle of the week, and the Republican Party is so disorganized, chaotic and unprepared that they can barely cobble together a partisan bill in their own conference,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “When Leader McConnell at this crucial moment can’t even mention Covid, it shows what a knot Republicans are tied in.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows have been meeting with Senate Appropriations Chair Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and other senior appropriators to hash out details of the spending portion of the Republican proposal.

The White House duo — along with economic adviser Larry Kudlow — met with the full Senate GOP Conference on Tuesday, and Mnuchin and Meadows also spoke briefly with Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, though they didn’t begin negotiations.

Coming out of that closed-door session, some Senate Republicans expressed strong opposition to the soon-to-be-released package, including Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas, among others.

Yet with Trump’s presidency and the Republican majority on the line, McConnell and other Senate leaders are under enormous pressure to offer a proposal. McConnell has termed the GOP effort “a starting line,” knowing he will face challenges from the left and right on the legislation.

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