Republicans look at alternative coronavirus relief options after negotiations stall

Congressional leadership including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of Calif., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, arrive to watch the flag-draped casket of the late Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., as is carried by a joint services military honor guard from Capitol Hill, Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Washington. (Brendan Smialowski/Pool via AP)

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UPDATED 11:30 AM PT — Thursday, July 30, 2020

The GOP is reportedly looking at a “Plan B” amid stalled talks over the next coronavirus relief package. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) confirmed the move on Wednesday and noted there’s no consensus on what an alternative would look like just yet.

“There are a lot of different ideas floating right now, nobody has settled on anything,” he added.

This came after the most recent GOP proposal seemed to stall shortly after being put forward. President Trump has called it “semi-irrelevant.”

Thune has hinted Congress might pass a standalone extension to enhanced unemployment benefits, which are set to expire on Friday.

Liability shields continue to be one of the most contentious aspects of coronavirus relief talks on Capitol Hill. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has expressed he will not take a bill to the floor without liability protections for businesses and schools.

Motorists take part in a caravan protest in front of Senator John Kennedy’s office at the Hale Boggs Federal Building asking for the extension of the $600 in unemployment benefits to people out of work because of the coronavirus in New Orleans, La. (Max Becherer/The Advocate via AP)

However, leading Democrats have said there will be no deal unless McConnell backs down.

The roadblock has stirred proposals for a smaller relief package, which would not include the liability shield.

Meanwhile, weekly jobless claims rose for the second week in a row. The Labor Department reported 1.43 million Americans filed initial claims for unemployment benefits last week, which fell in line with economists’ expectations.

Continuing claims also rose by 867,000. The uptick in unemployment comes as several southern states have seen a recent increase in new cases of the coronavirus.

RELATED: GOP, Democrats ‘Very Far Apart’ On COVID-19 Relief Package

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Shanon Peckham
Author: Shanon Peckham

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