Schumer rips ’emaciated’ Republican coronavirus relief plan – POLITICO

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“Republicans may call their proposal ‘skinny,’ but it would be more appropriate to call it ‘emaciated,’” the New York Democrat wrote. “With no money for rental assistance, no money for nutrition assistance, and no money for state and local services, the census, or safe elections, Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans would be making another unacceptable and ineffective attempt at providing relief.”

The new Senate Republican proposal is expected to include $300 in boosted weekly federal unemployment benefits through the end of December, another round of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses, $105 billion for education, and liability protections for companies, schools and health care providers amid the pandemic, according to a draft. The bill would also provide billions to the U.S. Postal Service by converting an existing loan into a grant.

Senate Republicans have previously been somewhat divided on a relief plan, but GOP leaders are growing confident their bill will garner 51 votes from the 53-seat GOP caucus and increase pressure on Democrats to cave. Some Republican aides say the measure could also be attached to a continuing resolution to fund the government past Sept. 30.

But Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have repeatedly rejected a “piecemeal” approach to coronavirus relief. And any such legislation will need 60 votes, including backing from some Democrats, to advance in the Senate — an unlikely outcome.

The biggest sticking point in relief talks remains the price tag. The White House and Senate Republicans are insisting on a package costing no more than $1 trillion, citing concerns about the federal deficit. Democrats initially pushed for a nearly $3.5 trillion bill passed by the House in May, but say they are now willing to come down to $2.2 trillion in an attempt to meet the GOP halfway.

In his letter Thursday, Schumer blamed Republicans for the stalemate and argued the White House “has refused to make any significant compromise.”

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