Republicans look at alternative coronavirus relief options after negotiations stall
UPDATED 11:30 AM PT — Thursday, July 30, 2020
The GOP is reportedly looking at a “Plan B” amid stalled talks over the next coronavirus relief package. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) confirmed the move on Wednesday and noted there’s no consensus on what an alternative would look like just yet.
“There are a lot of different ideas floating right now, nobody has settled on anything,” he added.
This came after the most recent GOP proposal seemed to stall shortly after being put forward. President Trump has called it “semi-irrelevant.”
Thune has hinted Congress might pass a standalone extension to enhanced unemployment benefits, which are set to expire on Friday.
Liability shields continue to be one of the most contentious aspects of coronavirus relief talks on Capitol Hill. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has expressed he will not take a bill to the floor without liability protections for businesses and schools.
However, leading Democrats have said there will be no deal unless McConnell backs down.
The roadblock has stirred proposals for a smaller relief package, which would not include the liability shield.
Meanwhile, weekly jobless claims rose for the second week in a row. The Labor Department reported 1.43 million Americans filed initial claims for unemployment benefits last week, which fell in line with economists’ expectations.
Continuing claims also rose by 867,000. The uptick in unemployment comes as several southern states have seen a recent increase in new cases of the coronavirus.