Mitch McConnell is putting out an SOS -- and it stands for “Save our (Republican) Senators.”
The Senate Majority Leader is pushing Thursday for a vote on a so-called “skinny” coronavirus stimulus package in a bid to rescue up to seven endangered GOP lawmakers facing difficult reelection bids.
With no hope of Democratic support, McConnell (R-Ky.) wants to line up all 53 Republicans to back the scaled-back $500 billion Republican measure that would:
— Provide $105 billion to help schools reopen.
— Enact a shield against lawsuits for businesses and others moving ahead to reopen.
— Create a scaled-back $300-per-week supplemental jobless benefit.
— Write off $10 billion in earlier debt at the U.S. Postal Service.
— Set aside $31 billion for a coronavirus vaccine, $16 billion for virus testing and $15 billion to help child care providers reopen.
— Provide $20 billion for farmers.
— Dedicate $258 billion for another round of paycheck protection subsidies.
Democrats say the GOP bill is far too small and leaves out important priorities, including hundreds of billions of dollars for state and local governments, more generous jobless benefits, and help for renters and homeowners, along with other provisions in the House Democrats' $3.5 trillion relief bill that passed in May.
He named no fewer than seven GOP senate seats that could flip in November, an unusually frank declaration of the dangerous political climate for Republicans with Trump at the top of the ticket.
The usually confident McConnell admitted to CNN that incumbent GOP senators in Iowa, Georgia and Montana are in trouble. That’s along with four GOP senators that are now trailing Democratic challengers.
But even bringing the measure up could be a political minefield for the GOP. Some Republican hardliners oppose any major new stimulus package on principle. They may vote no and expose an ugly internal rift in their ranks.