Tim Kaine predicts Senate breakthrough in Covid relief after RNC

Democrats and White House negotiators have been unable to reach an agreement on a coronavirus relief package for weeks as the economy continues to struggle amid the pandemic. As the talks appeared to break down, President Donald Trump revealed a number of executive actions earlier this month, including moves on evictions, extending the deferment on student loans, providing boosted unemployment benefits at a lower rate and deferring payroll taxes.

Senate Republicans floated a smaller coronavirus relief bill this week, which would include extra federal unemployment benefits until the end of the year and an additional $10 billion in funding for the U.S. Postal Service. Democrats have maintained that they don’t want a “skinny” or piecemeal package. When asked where he stood on the proposal, Kaine said he expected to settle on compromises with Republicans but that some protections were non-negotiable for the next stimulus package.

“The top line number will end up in my view being some somewhere in the middle,” Kaine said. “But we have to make sure unemployed workers are taken care of, people don’t get kicked out of their houses during global pandemic, or apartments, and people have food aid. And these are kind of basics before Democrats can agree to have a package.”

House Democrats will vote this Saturday to provide $25 billion to the Postal Service, briefly interrupting their August recess for one day. But Republicans appeared tepid on any standalone legislation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told the Louisville Courier-Journal on Tuesday that he doubts “we’ll pass, in the Senate, a postal-only bill,” but that he was optimistic the measure could springboard into productive discussion on the stimulus package.

Trump, however, seemed miffed that discussions on the Postal Service would be cutting into his party’s convention.

“Why are Republicans allowing the Democrats to have ridiculous Post Office hearings on Saturday & Monday, just before and during our Convention. Let them hold them NOW (during their Convention) or after our Convention is over. Always playing right into their hands!” Trump tweeted, tagging McConnell.

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