More Senate Republicans signal openness to $908 billion relief package as pandemic spike worsens
By Jeff Stein, Mike DeBonis and Seung Min Kim
Several senior Republicans expressed interest in the bipartisan coronavirus relief package Thursday, joining Democratic leaders who have also said the $908 billion proposal should be used as the starting point for urgent negotiations.
Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and John Cornyn (R-Tex.) signaled their openness to the package, which had been unveiled by a group of moderate Republican and Democratic senators Tuesday. The measure is more than what Senate Republicans had originally offered but less than what House Democrats had wanted, but it is designed to try to provide immediate relief to some parts of the economy as the pandemic enters a dangerous and increasingly deadly phase.
The two top congressional Democrats — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) — on Wednesday called the bipartisan offer an appropriate basis for stimulus negotiations, a significant retreat from their previous demands for a much larger stimulus package. President-elect Joe Biden has also urged lawmakers to come together on an interim deal during the lame-duck session of Congress.