The United States Senate is reportedly facing resistance from an unexpected source in its push for a second stimulus check: the White House. Republican senators are butting heads with President Donald Trump and members of his administration on certain aspects of their forthcoming new stimulus package, according to a report by Axios. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell met with several officials on Capitol Hill.
Trump reportedly sent White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to meet with McConnell on Tuesday to advise him on the president's hopes for a stimulus bill. The meeting reportedly "descended into chaos," with McConnell and other senators finding that they had drastically different priorities from the Trump administration when it comes to this new legislation. McConnell even told reporters that he is no longer confident that they can come to an agreement and pass something by the end of next week.
Many of the essential coronavirus relief measures provided in the last big stimulus package will expire on July 31, and McConnell and other lawmakers hoped to pass an extension or a replacement by then. On Tuesday, McConnell said that they might not meet that deadline, meaning the $600 per week unemployment benefit enhancement may simply fall away. Previously, McConnell and other senators had discussed replacing that program with a smaller unemployment bonus.
However, Mnuchin and Meadows told reporters that they still believe the deadline can be met, signaling even more miscommunication between the two groups. The president is reportedly dissatisfied with the $25 billion in funding for coronavirus testing provided by McConnell's bill, as well as the use of payroll tax cuts.
Democrats in both the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives have said that they will fight hard on the point of coronavirus testing. The president has said that he ordered members of his staff to "slow down" the testing, and lawmakers say they will not let that happen. The House passed a second stimulus bill back in mid-May. Still, the Senate ignored the legislation, not even considering the matter of a second stimulus package until the returned from a two-week recess on Monday.
McConnell's bill may include another stimulus check worth up to $1,200 based on income, although the income threshold may be set lower, reporters say. According to The Associated Press, it could be dropped from $99,000 to $75,000 per year.