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House GOP leaders rally opposition to Democrats' scaled-down COVID bill

House GOP leaders rally opposition to Democrats' scaled-down COVID bill
© Greg Nash

House Republicans are rallying members to oppose a new scaled-down coronavirus relief package from Democrats.

The GOP effort comes as negotiations between Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMnuchin says he learned of Pelosi's letter to him about stimulus talks 'in the press' On The Money: Trump makes a late pitch on the economy | US economy records record GDP gains after historic COVID-19 drop | Pelosi eyes big COVID-19 deal in lame duck Pelosi challenger calls delay on COVID-19 relief bill the 'privilege of politics' MORE (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinMnuchin says he learned of Pelosi's letter to him about stimulus talks 'in the press' On The Money: Trump makes a late pitch on the economy | US economy records record GDP gains after historic COVID-19 drop | Pelosi eyes big COVID-19 deal in lame duck Pelosi challenger calls delay on COVID-19 relief bill the 'privilege of politics' MORE showed signs of progress Tuesday on a COVID-19 aid bill after a weeks-long impasse.

Democrats unveiled their $2.2 trillion slimmed down proposal on Monday evening, which could come to the floor for a vote before the end of the week if a bipartisan agreement isn’t reached. The price tag is significantly lower than the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act passed by House Democrats in May.

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But House GOP leaders on Tuesday rejected the new legislation.

“This bill recycles the same socialist wish list that was offered in the Heroes Act, which House Republicans overwhelmingly rejected,” House GOP Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseHouse Republicans slated to hold leadership election on Nov. 17 McCarthy faces pushback from anxious Republicans over interview comments Jordan vows to back McCarthy as leader even if House loses more GOP seats MORE wrote in a memo sent to members urging a "no" vote on the legislation.

“Costing approximately $2.2 trillion, this is nothing more than a messaging exercise intended to appease the far-left base by included progressive policies that have nothing to do with the COVID-19 pandemic. Neither this bill nor anything like it will ever become law and Republicans should remain unified against this partisan power grab,” he added.

Congressional Republicans have expressed strong reservations about a number of provisions in the new bill from Democrats, including “subsidized Obamacare” for those receiving unemployment, the process in which the $600 a week in unemployment insurance would be extended, the potential for undocumented immigrants to receive stimulus payments and language calling for the release of certain federal prisoners.

The GOP memo noted that conservative outside groups — including Heritage Action, National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Tax Reform, Numbers USA, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Taxpayers Protection Alliance  and the Eagle Forum — have come out strongly against the Democratic measure.