Republican Senators To Try Yet Again To Pass Smaller, Targeted Stimulus Package

( Republican Senators are planning to push ahead with yet another smaller stimulus package that is most likely doomed to fail.

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement that Republicans will move forward on a targeted bill that would re-start the Paycheck Protection Program. He said the plan is to introduce the bill next week when the Senate returns to session.

In the statement, he said:

“Republicans do not agree that nothing is better than something for working families. The American people need Democrats to stop blocking bipartisan funding and let us replenish the PPP before more Americans lose their jobs needlessly.”

It’s very likely that Democrats will block this effort, just as they did in September when they blocked a skinny stimulus bill Republicans proposed that would’ve included approximately $300 billion in new money. Democrats have continued to insist that only a large-scale, multi-trillion-dollar package will suffice for the American people.

While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has continued negotiations with the White House’s lead negotiator, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, that has produced little progress thus far.

Earlier this week, Mnuchin countered the Democrats’ $2.2 trillion proposal with a $1.8 trillion offer, but Pelosi quickly rejected that idea. On Tuesday, Pelosi even wrote a letter to Democrats in the House that read:

“Significant changes must be made to remedy the Trump proposal’s deficiencies.”

For his part, President Donald Trump has called for Republican Senators to focus on pushing forward with a bipartisan economic stimulus package. He said the Senate should quickly confirm his Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, so they can focus all their attention on an economic stimulus bill.

On Monday morning, he tweeted:

“The Republicans are giving the Democrats a great deal of time, which is not mandated, to make their self serving statements relative to our great new future Supreme Court Justice. Personally, I would pull back, approve, and go for STIMULUS for the people!!!”

Optimists can have some solace in the fact that Pelosi and Mnuchin have said they will talk again this week to see if they can bridge the gaps that still exist between the two sides. After all, there’s “only” now $400 billion that stands between the $2.2 trillion Democrats want and the $1.8 trillion the White House last proposed.

Pessimists — or maybe realists — will point to the fact that it’s not just money that stands in the way of a deal, but overarching points of disagreement. This includes sending money to state and local governments as part of the package, as well as exact language on food assistance and unemployment benefits.

Even if Pelosi and Mnuchin are somehow able to come to an agreement on a stimulus package, it still faces a huge hurdle in the Senate, where Republicans have insisted they can’t back another spending bill of the amount both sides are proposing.

That may make it extremely unrealistic for a significant stimulus package to get passed before the election.