White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said the Trump administration is working intensively with Senate Republicans to speed approval of a scaled-down stimulus that could form a “foundation” for aid to the economy.
Meadows also said he saw a “groundswell of support among rank-and-file Democrats and Republicans” to suggest there’s some type of compromise possible over coronavirus relief. Democrats have pressed for a comprehensive package of about $2.2 trillion, scaled down from an earlier $3.4 trillion, while Senate Republicans are working on a $500 billion bill.
“I know as late as 9 o’clock last night I was on the phone with a couple of senators as well as Senate leadership to make sure that we put forth a bill coming out of the Senate that at least provides a foundation for getting an agreement,” Meadows said in an interview with Fox Business News Tuesday.
“The stumbling block is aid to state and local governments,” Meadows added, reiterating his opposition to the Democrats’ proposal for almost $1 trillion in aid for regional authorities that have seen their revenues devastated by the Covid-19 crisis.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is aiming for a vote on the so-called skinny stimulus bill as the Senate comes back from recess this week. But the Republicans would need to overcome a potential filibuster by Democrats favoring a bigger package. And there’s little chance of passage in the House, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi also calling for more robust aid.
Meadows said he was “more optimistic perhaps today than I’ve been in a long time,” after conversations with lawmakers. He added that he was “optimistic in the next two weeks that the pressure and the voice of the American people will start to have an impact on members of Congress” and help seal a deal.
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