More Republican Stimulus Infighting (Trump vs. Senate?)

This is my stimulus update for Sunday, July 19.

Trump Demands Payroll Taxcut in Next Relief Bill

This morning President Trump was on Fox News Sunday and he said that he would not consider signing the next stimulus relief bill if it doesn’t have a payroll tax cut in it.

We know that a White House spokesperson said as much late last week, but now we have the president himself reiterating on this point. We know that Trump has been talking about a payroll tax cut for some time.

This could be problematic because Mitch McConnell hasn’t really put the notion of a payroll tax cut out there in terms of what he thinks should be in the next stimulus relief bill, so if the White House is sticking to its guns on this point, this could stall negotiations.

Trump also said “we do need some kind of immunity” in the bill, referring to liability protection for small businesses, hospitals, schools, etc.

On this point, it seems that the President and Mitch McConnell are in agreement. Mitch McConnell has been talking about this kind of liability protection for the past couple months now.

Also in the interview Trump kind of downplayed the recent rises in cases, the hot spots, we’ve seen over the past several weeks, repeating the claim that the increased number of cases can simply be attributed to more testing.

He said that the economy is, quote, “expanding and growing beautifully,” saying that the shutdowns are simply an effort by Democratic governors to hurt the economy and therefore hurt his chances of reelection in November.

Limit to Supercharged Unemployment Benefits?

In terms of supercharged unemployment benefits, the Washington Post reported this morning that Republicans may want to reduce or limit the supercharged unemployment benefits allocated to people who make more than a certain amount of money, the limit being unknown at this point.

Washington Post didn’t say what their specific sources were for this, but this would be in line with the Republican orientation right now of more narrowly targeting future stimulus to just those who need it the most, and it would also be consistent with what Larry Kudlow said yesterday, and I quote, “We’re not getting rid of unemployment benefits. Now a couple of things, we are looking at various ways to cap total unemployment benefits.”

He’s again, talking about narrowly targeting the next round of stimulus

Rift Between White House and Senate Republicans

According to more anonymous sources at the Washington Post, there is a conflict between the White House and Senate Republicans on how much federal funding should be in the next stimulus relief bill for COVID-19 testing and tracing.

According to Washington Post, “One person involved in the talks said Senate Republicans were seeking to allocate $25 billion for states to conduct testing and contact tracing, but that certain administration officials want to zero out the testing and tracing money entirely. Some White House officials believe they have already approved billions of dollars in assistance for testing and that some of that money remains unspent.”

So it seems that Senate Republicans want and see a need for additional allocation for testing for COVID-19 but the White House doesn’t like that, and can you guess why?

Well, it’s because the President thinks that the more testing we do, the more cases the charts show, and the more poorly people will think of his performance, which will hurt his reelection chances in November.

This could be cause for another potential delay in the stimulus relief bill talks, not only regarding the payroll tax cut but also this allocation for testing and tracing, so not only is there the potential for disagreement between Republicans and Democrats in general but it’s looking like there may be some issues where the Republican White House doesn’t see eye-to-eye with Republicans in the Senate, and folks, remember, we’re on an insane time crunch here, the Senate is back tomorrow, but supercharged unemployment benefits end at the end of this month and in most states that means this week even though the last of the month doesn’t happen this week, just the way that some state unemployment systems are set up.

Also, at the end of the month, the House of Representatives has a recess that begins on August, though Pelosi has signalled that she may be willing to delay the House recess, and the Senate has a recess that begins a week later on August 8.

So to keep things going here, our dear leaders in D.C. are going to have to really burn the midnight oil this week to hopefully get something done for the people.

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here