The latest White House coronavirus relief offer, with a $1.6 trillion price tag, received a cool reception Thursday from congressional Republicans.
The new offer from Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinAmerican Airlines to furlough 19,000 workers On The Money: ‘One more serious try’ on COVID relief yields progress but no deal | Trump tax bombshell shines light on IRS enforcement | Senate passes bill to avert shutdown hours before deadline ‘One more serious try’ on COVID-19 relief yields progress but no deal MORE, which exceeds the original $1.1 trillion Senate GOP package and the $1.5 trillion the White House signaled it could support last month, was made as part of renewed talks this week with Democratic leaders.
But Republicans, including influential chairmen and members of leadership, are warning they can’t support it, creating another potential obstacle for negotiators trying to strike a deal on emergency COVID-19 aid after nearly two months of stalemate.
Asked about the prospect of supporting a $1.6 trillion measure, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyThe Hill’s Morning Report – Fight night: Trump, Biden hurl insults in nasty debate GOP seeks to redirect criticism over Trump tax returns Grassley says disclosing Trump’s tax records without authorization could violate law MORE (R-Iowa) was direct: “No.”
“I think we’ve made it very clear that there’s so much money … that isn’t even out of Washington yet,” Grassley said. “We’re more in the neighborhood of something below $1 trillion.”
Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyThe Hill’s Morning Report – Fight night: Trump, Biden hurl insults in nasty debate GOP seeks to redirect criticism over Trump tax returns The Hill’s Morning Report – Sponsored by JobsOhio – Showdown: Trump-Biden debate likely to be nasty MORE of Texas, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, also appeared unsure he could back a bill with that dollar amount by criticizing the inclusion of a $400 per week federal unemployment benefit.
“How much wasteful spending will we have to swallow to do this?” he said during an interview with Fox Business Network on Thursday.
The pushback comes as Republicans have struggled to unite behind a strategy on the coronavirus relief talks. Senate Republicans initially unveiled a $1.1 trillion package in late July but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP senators pan debate: ‘S—show,’ ‘awful,’ ’embarrassment’ ‘One more serious try’ on COVID-19 relief yields progress but no deal The Hill’s Campaign Report: Debate fallout l Trump clarifies remarks on Proud Boys l Down to the wire in South Carolina MORE (R-Ky.) warned that he could lose up to 20 of his 53 GOP senators with that measure.
But Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntGOP senators confident Trump pick to be confirmed by November Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election SCOTUS confirmation in the last month of a close election? Ugly MORE (Mo.), a member of GOP leadership, predicted Thursday that if there were going to be a deal