Incentive Negotiations: A whiplash of various proposals continues on Capitol Hill

There are a lot of proposals and none of them are ready to vote. The White House has officially returned to incentive talks for the first time since the election. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is proposing his own path, and the bipartisan group will continue to try to solve the problem of liability insurance, which has been bothering negotiators for months.
Bottom line: The White House offer is dead when Democrats arrive. All eyes on the bipartisan group and whether they can close their deal. The point of adhesion? Money for state and local governments and liability protection.

This list is not exhaustive, but it takes a sample of what the invoice contains:

About unemployment:

  • $ 300 raised for 16 weeks in unemployment benefits
  • extension of unemployment benefits for concertmakers
  • an extension of the program that allows people to remain unemployed for 39 weeks instead of 26

For small businesses:

  • $ 300 billion to the Small Business Board to provide another round of PPP loans to businesses with fewer than 300 employees that have experienced a loss of revenue due to the epidemic

On delivery:

  • transport funding for Amtrak, airports, bus companies and the extension of the payroll support program for aviation workers.

About health care:

  • $ 35 billion for health care providers, including $ 7 billion for rural health care and $ 1 billion for tribal health care facilities
  • $ 6 billion to distribute vaccines
  • $ 7 billion in test and follow-up support for states and localities, and an additional $ 2 billion for nursing homes
READ: Summary of bipartisan legislators on Covid mitigation proposal


  • $ 82 billion for educators
  • extension of student loan payment until April 30, 2021

Other programs:

  • $ 25 billion to states and localities for rent subsidies
  • A 15% increase in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will last for four months for individuals
  • $ 13 billion to farmers and farmers affected by the pandemic
  • $ 10 billion for childminders struggling amid the epidemic
  • $ 6 billion in broadband support

Is this proposal missing?

  • Details of exactly what the plan is for state and local funding and accountability. The section on liability states that “agreement in principle is the basis for negotiations in good faith”.

Warning that the group affects many players. Therefore, any announcement as to when these will be introduced should be made with caution, as only a very large number of members need to agree before they can see anything in public.

So what was Mnuchin’s offer on Tuesday?

Several sources told CNN that while Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s plan included many provisions in the bipartisan bill – including $ 160 billion in state and local funding and a “stronger” liability protection – it also included a $ 600 direct check on for Americans. He paid these checks, repealing the provision in the bipartisan bill that brought back $ 300 in increased weekly unemployment benefits. These benefits ran out in late July, but were replaced by Trump’s August enforcement order, and Democrats and some Republicans see these talks as essential. As one Democratic aide put it, replacing the $ 300 weekly allowance until March with a one-time $ 600 salary doesn’t reduce it.

Nevertheless, Mnuchin’s involvement sends an important signal. The White House, which is largely behind the scenes in these negotiations, is back in the game. CNN was told that the GOP leadership was fully committed and incorporated everything Mnuchin had to offer Tuesday night, even if the plan looked different from McConnell’s earlier-day proposal on accountability and state and to end local support and move on.


If you watched it on Tuesday, the whiplash was easy.

As the bipartisan group struggled to find a compromise between state and local aid and liability insurance, McConnell suggested in the GOP lunch call and later publicly that it made sense to leave both of them and continue with a package that was already widely agreed.

“We can’t go without passing a Covid bill. The country needs it,” the Kentucky Republican said, adding, “I recommend that we set aside responsibility and set aside state and local and hand over things that in which we can agree, knowing full well, we will return to this after the first year. “

Democrats did not like this proposal, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Senator of the Democratic Whip, called it an “insult” he could not support.

Hours later, just as bipartisan senators began another Zoom talks on their own aid bill – Mnuchin announced he had submitted a new $ 916 billion proposal to Democrats that included state and local aid and accountability measures that McConnell had hours earlier. he seemed to have to disappear.

Democrats quickly threw cold water at Mnuchin’s plan, saying the work of the bipartisan group should continue.

Pay attention to whether management still has a call or meeting today about incentives or spending. While Democrats have made it clear that they want to play the work of the bipartisan group, there is not much time left to wait for this deal to close. McConnell indicated he was open to talk about Wednesday’s proposal. Mnuchin clearly trades with Democrats as well. And while democratic leadership wants to give space to the bipartisan group, negotiations between leadership aides have never ceased. Follow the principles here.

And, of course, the House will vote on a one-week ongoing decision to keep the government open on Wednesday afternoon.

Reminder about the bipartisan group

While the group includes Republicans and Democrats and is made up of members such as Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who helped take responsibility, Republicans from the bipartisan group do not represent the views of the GOP conference. most of these issues. What might work for Senate Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, or Republican Senator Susan Collins of Main, may not be John Barrasso of Wyoming GOP Senator.

Even if the group irones out a final proposal and has the text of the bill, the agreement is not over yet. Assistants said there was some setback at the GOP’s Tuesday lunch over the path followed by the bipartisan group. And it is recognizable that leadership must eventually get involved. McConnell is not one who brings bills to the floor that have only a few Republican votes. You will need to attend the conference more widely.

NDAA vote

The House vote for the $ 741 billion defense policy bill was 335-78. This is more than proof of veto. GOP leaders hope the Senate will have its own strong vote, forcing the president to consider vetoing in the first place.

It’s still important to note that if Trump vetoes this proposal, lawmakers will have to take their votes over and over again. And although Republicans first voted “yes,” that “yes” becomes even more difficult when a president popular at his base calls for a no-vote. Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader of the House, has already said that although he voted for the bill for the first time, he will not support it again if Trump vetoes it.

“I don’t think Republicans always vote to overturn the veto in our work with the president,” McCarthy said.

This story was updated with further enhancements on Wednesday.