The uprising, which spans the ideological spectrum from conservatives to moderates in the conference, is the latest challenge for majority leader Mitch McConnell, as he seeks to save the GOP’s inaugural bid and start talks with Democrats to reach a deal before the August break .
“It’s a mistake,” Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, said of the latest proposal. “I think we need to focus on rebuilding the economy, not just throwing away trillions of dollars from Washington. I think this account is the wrong approach.”
Sen. Ben Sass, a Republican from Nebraska, said Tuesday “there are a hundred problems with the plan.”
In particular, senators blew up the administration for including $ 1
Republicans urged administration officials Tuesday during a private lunch over why the money was included in the bill, which members say is not even related to the coronavirus.
“I just don’t understand it. How is it related to the coronavirus? I never understood why we give money to the Kennedy Center or the National Arts Foundation. During a pandemic, let’s focus on solving the problem,” said Sen. Rick Scott, a Republican from Florida. he said.
“I don’t know why it’s there,” said South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham.
“Let me speak for myself, I am against the non-German amendments, whether it is about financing the FBI building or, for example, whether the House bill is about tax cuts for high-income people in the blue states or other non-German amendments to the house such as marijuana research or aid for illegal immigrants, “he said.
Asked about a Senate Republican concession to the proposal, McConnell acknowledged the divisions at his conference, telling reporters Tuesday afternoon, “Look, I think it’s obvious that I have members who are all along the line.”
The reaction has been building for months. For most of May and June, discussions among Republicans about how to deal with another stimulus bill raged behind closed doors. Republican senators discussed among themselves whether to give states and localities more flexibility in the way they used stimulus dollars and whether to reduce the increased unemployment benefits that were included in the CARES Act in the spring. But now, with a paper proposal, the members are not holding back.
“I don’t want to see a new money permit,” said Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin.
Mike Brown of Indiana told reporters he did not think he could support the bill in its current form.
“I think we need to get back to Trump’s economy, not the federal government trying to replace it,” Brown said.
Republican Sen. Pat Tuumi of Pennsylvania said he was “studying” the proposal, but had problems with the “number” of provisions.
“I’ll wait and see what the final product looks like, but I’m pretty skeptical about the way it looks to be shaped,” Toumy said.
And it’s not just budget hawks who express their frustrations. As half a dozen Republicans prepare for re-election in tough contests from Maine to Iowa, Republicans on the ballot say it is necessary to make changes to the GOP’s introductory offer if they will support it.
“We have a lot of negotiations to do,” Senator Tom Tillis, a North Carolina Republican, told reporters. “There are a number of things we are negotiating.”
Disagreements complicate the negotiating position for Republican leaders and the White House, as Democrats see the split as an opportunity to extract more concessions from the PP in the upcoming talks.
“It’s not exactly our strongest hand,” said one Republican senator.
The GOP plan, unveiled by a series of Republican presidents and Senate floor executives Monday night, includes new money for schools, liability protection for hospitals, restaurants and businesses, and another round of direct incentive payments to individuals and families. But disagreements over how to structure additional unemployment benefits and the inclusion of money for a new FBI building at the request of the Trump administration further erode GOP support.
“That’s the starting point,” said Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican.
Several Republicans also expressed dissatisfaction that there is no new money for state and local governments included in the original bill. This was a top priority for Democrats and PP senators from countries who saw their budgets shrink as a result of closed businesses and declining sales tax revenues.
Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana said he wanted more money for state and local governments, even acknowledging that the PP bill was the beginning of negotiations, not the end.
“Obviously I have advocated for more state and local and I think we will do it at the end of the day,” Cassidy said.
Sen. Lisa Markowski, an Alaska Republican, questioned whether there was enough funding for education in the bill. The GOP proposal includes $ 105 billion for schools, with $ 70 billion earmarked for the transition directly to K-12 education.
“Is there anything enough money at the moment?” she asked.
It is unclear how McConnell will overcome the division. In order to pass something and enter the law, McConnell will need democratic votes. To get them, he will have to make changes that will be lost to the Conservatives, who are already priced at $ 1 trillion.
Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows have already begun preliminary talks with Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. These talks are coming as Republican senators are worried about how Meadows and Mnuchin have negotiated with Democrats in the past.
“I think it’s much better when it comes to members who deal with members, but that seems to be the model we’re in,” a Republican senator said, given the background so he could freely discuss the outlines. of the negotiations. “I’d rather have Republican senators deal with Democrats.”
Manu Raju, Claire Foran and Phil Matting of CNN contributed to this report.