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Sen. Lamar Alexander. Photo: Al Drago/Pool/Getty Images

Senate Republicans and negotiators from the Trump administration are considering a short-term extension of supplemental unemployment benefits, which are set to expire on July 31, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) confirmed to reporters Wednesday.

Why it matters: A chaotic Senate Republican lunch on Tuesday revealed that the White House and GOP senators remain far apart on key priorities in the next economic package and that it's unlikely a bill will be passed by the end of next week.

The state of play: The $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed by Congress in March created an extra $600 per week in unemployment insurance, which has helped prop up an economy ravaged by coronavirus-related closures.

  • More than 32 million Americans are currently receiving some form of unemployment benefits, according to Labor Department data released last week.
  • Many Republicans have voiced concerns that the supplemental benefits have disincentivized people to return to work because the enhanced unemployment pays more than their wages.
  • The length and details of the possible extension being negotiated are not yet clear.

Worth noting: While extending the expanded unemployment benefits are a priority for congressional Democrats, there's no guarantee that they would agree to back a short-term fix without additional concessions from Republicans.

Go deeper: White House, Senate Republicans far apart on stimulus talks

Go deeper

Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted COVID relief bill

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked a vote on Republicans' $500 billion targeted COVID-19 relief bill, a far less comprehensive package than the $1.8 trillion+ deal currently being negotiated between the Trump administration and House Democrats.

Why it matters: There's little appetite in the Senate for a stimulus bill with a price tag as large as what President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been calling for. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) "skinny" proposal was mostly seen as a political maneuver, as it had little chance of making it out of the Senate.

Senate Dems will boycott vote to advance Judge Amy Coney Barrett

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Senate Democrats are expected to boycott Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s Thursday Judiciary Committee vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced on Wednesday.

The big picture: The boycott will not prevent Barrett from moving forward in the nomination process, but the largely symbolic display is a symptom of Democrats and Republicans’ clashing over President Trump’s Supreme Court pick.

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID-related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.