Monday will reportedly mark the start of negotiations over the second stimulus bill, according to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. GOP leadership in Congress will meet with President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to "start to fine tune it," Meadows said during an interview with Fox News.
"As we've started to engage with our Senate and House colleagues up on Capitol Hill, those will start in earnest starting tomorrow, Monday," Meadows told the outlet, adding what targets and goals the White House wants the bill to hit. "We're not going to be shy about making sure that we have protections for the American worker and those that employ individuals. And so you're going to see an additional thrust there. It looks like that that new package will be in the trillion-dollar range, as we have started to look at it, whether it's a payroll tax deduction, whether it's making sure that unemployment benefits continue, without a disincentive to return to work."
Republicans will present their plan but still stand at odds with their Democratic counterparts across the aisle. As CNN notes, Mitch McConnell has kept details of the actual bill tight and hasn't leaked much out. That said, a few items of contention are already being debated in the media.
The unemployment payments mentioned above are among the most critical topics, with GOP lawmakers holding close to the idea that the country overpaid with the first stimulus and unemployed people have no incentive to go back to work. Another sticking point is funding for the CDC, which Sen. Chuck Schumer was vocal against cutting on Sunday.
"The administration is talking about -- Republican McConnell is talking about cutting it -- that would be cutting your nose to spite your face," Schumer told CNN. "We need the CDC to help us fight Covid. To not have the facts, to not have the science makes no sense at all."
The White House recently shifted all hospital reporting on COVID-19 to the Department of Health and Human Services, moving away from the CDC as the lead for the pandemic efforts and holding more control over the data. Many have criticized it as politicizing the virus response, piling on the already growing criticism of the federal response.
The second stimulus has long been in the works following the frustrating rollout of the first stimulus during the pandemic's early days. Many still hold out hope that this stimulus will come soon, but Congress has seemed reluctant to get something passed. Once these negotiations begin Monday, the clock will start ticking. Lawmakers will have two weeks to debate and possibly pass the bill.