WASHINGTON — Beset by internal divisions and clashes with the Trump administration, Senate Republicans downplayed the prospects Tuesday of enacting new coronavirus relief before key programs like boosted unemployment payments expire.
Republicans continue to negotiate among themselves but broadly oppose an extension beyond this week of the $600 weekly federal jobless benefit that millions of Americans are collecting. Complicating Republican talks is the White House, which is trying to cut funding for COVID-19 testing and demanding a payroll tax cut that many in the president’s party oppose.
Talks with Democrats, who will be needed to pass the bill, haven’t even begun.
At a meeting of Republican lawmakers Tuesday, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas cast doubt on the spending talks, asking, “What the hell are we doing?” according to a Republican source familiar with his remarks.
Good. Don’t throw more borrowed money on the fire. Open the economy and let Americans work.