No. 2 Republican: ‘Loose ends’ but there is agreement on ‘general contours’ of stimulus deal
Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneOn The Money: McConnell sets first vote on coronavirus stimulus for Sunday | Five sticking points to a deal | Four senators sold stocks before coronavirus crashed markets | ‘Tax Day’ delayed until July 15 McConnell sets first coronavirus stimulus package vote for Sunday Five sticking points to a T coronavirus deal MORE (R-S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said on Saturday that there is an agreement on the “general contours” of a coronavirus stimulus package, while noting that they are still ironing out the policy details.
“Basically we know kind of the general contours of what this is going to look like, what the outline is going to be. And I think that now it’s just a question of trying to figure out, plugging in some of the policy, and in figuring out where the numbers are,” Thune told reporters after a closed-door policy lunch.
Thune added that there were still “some small differences,” but “on the main points I think everybody is kind of in the same place.”
“I mean there are some loose ends, and there are some policy pieces that still haven’t been decided on,” he added, saying that on the “major categories” there is “general agreement.”
Thune’s comments are the latest sign that lawmakers are closing in a mammoth spending package to combat the economic fallout due to the coronavirus that is expected to top $1 trillion.
Negotiators have been given until 5 p.m. to lock down an agreement.
The news comes after they missed a midnight deadline, deadlocked on key issues like unemployment and a state stabilization fund.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate negotiators near agreement on keeping rebates in coronavirus stimulus package Senate unable to reach coronavirus stimulus deal before Friday deadline Hillicon Valley: Senators press Amazon over workplace safety amid outbreak | Lyft expands to deliveries | Dems seek election security funds in stimulus package MORE (R-Ky.) told reporters before the closed-door lunch that they would “clearly” get an agreement.
He said after the lunch that they had a “fulsome discussion” and were making “progress” toward the measure.
“We discussed some other changes that we think may make sense, and we’re still on the same timeline. With a …procedural vote tomorrow,” he added.
The stimulus package under discussion is expected to include relief for small businesses, industries like airlines and impacted workers. There is growing concern that jobless claims will spike as soon as next week as businesses have had to curtail their activities or close altogether.
The Senate is expected to hold a procedural vote on Sunday on a “shell” bill, which is being used as a placeholder for the stimulus package.
McConnell wants to pass the package on Monday.