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Senate, White House Wrangle Over New COVID-19 Stimulus Bill

The week started with high expectations that the Senate Republicans would unveil their version of a Phase 4 coronavirus bill. (House of Representative Democrats passed their program in May and are waiting for the Senate and White House to come to an agreement on their offer so that negotiations could begin.) After a two-week break for July 4, the Senate returned last Monday and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell had promised a bill on Monday or Tuesday. No deal among Republicans and the White House, however, was reached. What went wrong?

I believe the biggest issue is the desire of McConnell to pass a bill in the Senate without any votes coming from Democrats in order to strengthen his negotiating position with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats. With his narrow 53 to 47 majority, he can only afford to lose three of his Republican members, and several of the Tea Party Senators are threatening to vote against the bill that will cost at least $1 trillion.

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