President Donald Trump will meet with senior advisors this week to discuss the possibilities of another pandemic-related stimulus package, this time with a focus on encouraging a return to work and public life, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.
Trump and his advisors want to emphasize a rejuvenation of going out to eat and taking vacations, intending to help energize the lagging economy.
A senior official said the country had "been through the rescue phase, and we’re now in the transitional reopening phase, and I think, generally speaking, we’d like to move into a growth-incentive phase for the future economy," WSJ reported.
Trump and his advisors' views are sharply contrasted by Democrats, who want to see a boosting of the protections from April, including individual stimulus payments and an extension of enhanced unemployment benefits. Republicans balked at those requests in May, thinking enough had been spent already on aid, and Trump vetoed a $3.5 trillion bill that landed on his desk after it was passed in Congress.
Instead, Republicans want to see incentives for people returning to work, as well as liability protections for businesses, with officials predicting a wave of lawsuits related to the coronavirus and businesses' protections against it.
Another sticking point is the disagreement over unemployment pay, with Republicans looking instead at lowering the $600 bonuses given out amid the quarantine and possibly adding incentives for people to go back to work, with one option being setting the payments as shares of workers' salaries, WSJ reported.
The final package still has many open variables on its size and scope, with Trump and other top Republicans having indicated that they'd like to wait and see how the previous stimulus efforts affected the economy as states start to reopen.
The price tag could reach $1 trillion, Republicans said, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell telling the president privately that he doesn't want to spend more than that, WSJ reported.
However, the focus on reopening might run into other problems as Alabama discovered. The state has had a new rash of virus infections over the past few weeks, straining medical professionals and resources yet again.
Over in Georgia, despite reopening campaigns by businesses and governments, jobs still aren't coming back.