Samuel Case, FISM News
Institutional Republicans in the Senate are receiving some pushback from the more fiscal conservatives in their midsts over a proposed $1 trillion coronavirus relief package that is hoped to pass this week, before $600 a week unemployment benefits expire. Majority Leader Mitch McConnel has said his goal is to keep the package at $1 trillion as a counter to the over $3 trillion bill passed by the Democratic-led house back in May. However, the Majority Leader’s price tag is still too high for those further to his right in the party.
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said there isn’t enough detail about the bill and shared his frustration with the bill in no uncertain terms; “as it’s written right now . . . I’m not only a no, I’m a hell no.” He expressed fears the assured $1 trillion price cap would likely grow; “This is the swamp in a feeding frenzy. Everybody’s lobbyist has their hand out, saying, ‘Look, if you’re spending trillions of dollars, I want to get some.’ And it’s not right . . .”
Like McConnel, Senator Rand Paul represents Kentucky said the focus should be on opening up the economy rather than spending more money on aid, saying, “conservatives are unhappy with all the money we’re spending up here on the virus. They would rather the economy open. Most of them think we acted in an overzealous way in terms of closing the economy down.” He even accused some Republicans of following in the footsteps of Bernie Sanders.
The bill is still set to be introduced this week. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin who has been working with McConnel is eager to get the bill moving forward saying, “We’re going to try to get something done by the end of next week . . . That’s the time frame because we want to get something done before the unemployment insurance expires. This is a process.” McConnell isn’t discouraged by the opposition saying overall the bill “enjoys fairly significant support among Republican senators,” but “probably not everyone,” and he also understands most of his colleagues oppose continuing the $600 a week unemployment benefits.