Senate GOP still doesn't have a virus relief plan a month after letting aid lapse

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Senate Republicans can't even agree among themselves on aid for struggling Americans.

Senate Republicans return to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday after a monthlong August recess, where they'll once again work on a plan for virus relief that can pass the GOP-controlled chamber.

But more than a month after they let a $600 per week unemployment insurance boost expire, GOP senators still do not have a deal even among their own members to extend aid to millions of out-of-work Americans, Politico reported.

House Democrats passed a coronavirus relief bill on May 15 that would have extended the $600 weekly unemployment payments through 2020, as well as added another round of $1,200 direct payments to Americans, among other things.

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But Senate Republicans refused to take up that bill.

Instead, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a plan days before the unemployment insurance payments were slated to expire — a plan he never put to a vote because it didn't have enough support even among his own Republican members.

Politico reported that McConnell now wants to put up a so-called "skinny" coronavirus relief package to try to force Democrats into backing a less generous coronavirus relief package

But that "skinny" bill — which would slash the weekly unemployment payments to $300 a week — currently doesn't have 51 votes from Republican senators, according to Politico, meaning it would fail.

Republicans' inability to pass virus relief comes as millions of Americans remain out of work, with permanent layoffs growing in a troubling sign for the United States economy.

A poll from July found that the measures in House Democrats' relief bill — including the additional $600 for unemployment payments, additional $1,200 payments, and relief to state and local governments — are widely popular among voters.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.