Republicans Divided Over Next Coronavirus Stimulus Package

( One of the biggest challenges Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may have during negotiations over the next economic relief package are within his own party.

As McConnell unveiled the Senate’s $1 trillion plan on Monday, members of his own Republican Party spoke out against it. Those thoughts continued Tuesday, as some prominent senators said they don’t like what Republicans have put forward.

“It’s a mistake. I think we should be focused on re-opening the economy not simply shoveling trillions of dollars out of Washington,” Texas Senator Ted Cruz said. “I think this bill is the wrong approach.”

There was always projected to be a wide gap between Republican Senators and Democratic House members with this next relief package. Democrats believe in wide spending on a massive scale and proposed another $3 trillion package. Republicans want to be conservative with throwing money at the problem, especially since so much of that has already been done.

But the division within the Republican ranks is somewhat of a surprise. There are some outspoken members of the party who seem to believe that no additional spending should be done now.

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson said: “I don’t want to see any new authorization of money.”

Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse said Tuesday that “there are a hundred problems with the plan.”

One of those problems is $1.75 billion that’s included in the bill to construct a new building for the FBI. Apparently, that is not something that Republican senators wanted included, but something that was insisted upon by President Donald Trump and his administration.

As Florida Senator Rick Scott said:

“I just don’t understand it. How is it tied to coronavirus? I never understood why we were giving money to the Kennedy Center or the National Endowment for the Arts. During a pandemic, let’s concentrate on solving the problem.”

For his part, McConnell said he is firmly against having those funds included in the stimulus proposal. On Tuesday, he said he hopes those funds and any other “non-germane” provisions that aren’t directly related to the coronavirus would be stripped out of the final bill.

“Let me speak for myself. I am opposed to non-germane amendments, whether it’s funding for the FBI building or for example whether in the House bill it’s a tax cut for high-income earners in blue states or other non-germane amendments in the House bill like marijuana studies or aid to illegal immigrants,” McConnell said.

The divisions within the Republican Party could prove to be a huge roadblock as negotiations between the two parties starts in earnest soon. House Democrats were hoping to be able to have Republican Senators move the needle closer to their $3 trillion total. But with many Republicans saying they don’t want to spend any more money at all, that may prove to be a tall task.

Once a bipartisan bill is agreed upon and passed — whenever that may be — there will be the next challenge of convincing Trump that it is good enough to sign.