Apr 19, 2020 - Health

Battle lines drawn over next stimulus bill

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Now that the interim coronavirus funding bill is approaching the finish line, a heated debate over a much bigger phase 4 rescue package has picked back up, according to conversations with multiple House and Senate aides.

The big picture: At the forefront of the discussion is filling what Democrats see as the gaps in the interim bill — the biggest being more money for the states. Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) proposed a $500 billion fund Sunday night for state and local governments to be included in the next stimulus bill.

What they're saying: The interim bill "is only gonna cover a very short list of discrete things, so there's more work," a House Democratic aide told Axios.

  • "The second biggest microphone in the country right now after Donald Trump is the governors. And the governors are asking for more state and local funding. So it puts Trump and the Republicans in a difficult place when you've got bipartisan pressure to support this," a senior Democratic aide said.

But Trump administration officials think a broader stimulus deal is weeks, if not months, away — and some say these types of programs might not be needed by then if state economies are opened up again.

  • "I would put the skids on [phase 4 talks] because right now we've provided what we need to. We're replenishing the funds that need to be replenished, as of Monday," a senior White House official told Axios.
  • "The ink isn't even dry on these other packages, and the money isn't even out the door yet. Let's focus on these current programs first," a Trump administration official said. "Plus, we're already seeing some states open back up. This is premature."

The bottom line: The earliest a phase 4 bill could be passed is May 4, when the House and Senate are slated to return to the Hill.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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  6. 1 sports thing: NCAA outlines plan to get athletes back to campus.

In photos: Protests intensify across the U.S. over George Floyd's death

Protesters outside the Capitol in Washington, DC, on May 29. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

Mass protests in Atlanta, New York City and Washington, D.C., sparked clashes with police on Friday, as demonstrators demanded justice for the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after at least one police officer knelt on his neck on Monday.

The big picture: The officer involved in the killing of Floyd was charged with third-degree murder on Friday, after protests continued in Minneapolis for three days.

Zuckerberg says Trump’s “shooting” tweet didn’t violate Facebook’s rules

Mark Zuckerberg at the 56th Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany on February 15. Photo: Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Facebook did not remove President Trump's threat to send the National Guard to Minneapolis because the company's policy on inciting violence allows discussion on state use of force, CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained in a post on Friday.

The big picture: Zuckerberg's statement comes on the heels of leaked internal criticism from Facebook employees over how the company handled Trump's posts about the Minneapolis protests and his unsubstantiated claims on mail-in ballots — both of which Twitter has now taken action on.