Trump Team Sees Path to Pared-Down $500 Billion Stimulus Deal

The Trump administration sees a possibility for Republicans and Democrats to agree on a smaller round of pandemic relief totaling $500 billion that would omit the biggest areas of disagreement, according to a senior U.S. official.

The official, who discussed the matter on the condition of anonymity, said Tuesday night that both parties in Congress may be able to reach an accord on issues like financial help for the Postal Service, aid to schools and more money for businesses to keep their workers employed.

But the two parties remain far apart on other proposals, including stimulus checks and assistance for local and state governments, the official added.

The $500 billion figure is far less than congressional Democrats have demanded. The House approved a stimulus plan of about $3.5 trillion in May, but talks among Democratic congressional leaders and the White House ended in deadlock.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have said that they would be willing to drop their proposal to $2 trillion, and Pelosi suggested earlier Tuesday that Democrats could compromise even further now, then come back after the November elections with additional agenda items.

Senate Republicans plan to introduce their own scaled-back stimulus bill, which would include a $300 a week enhanced unemployment benefit, money for small business aid, additional Postal Service funding and protection for employers against lawsuits stemming from Covid-19 infections, an aide to the Senate GOP said Monday. That would be a slimmed-down version of a $1 trillion legislation Republican senators introduced in late July.

The administration official didn’t mention an enhanced unemployment benefit, which ran out at the end of July.

Both chambers of the Capitol are in recess. But Pelosi has called the House back into session for a vote on Saturday to provide $25 billion in aid for the Postal Service.

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