GOP drafting stimulus package without deal with Democrats

Senate Republicans say they are drafting the text of a mammoth stimulus package to stem the economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak, even as they have not yet locked in an agreement on the legislation with Democrats. 

GOP senators and White House aides said they are drafting the legislation to reflect areas of agreement with Democrats, as well as writing the final sticking points to reflect what they think could win over Democratic support. 
 
"What the leader has instructed his committees to, with our support, is to finish drafting legislation that reflects agreements reached so far and that the chairman and the majority believe Democrats could be in a position to support by the time we vote," said Eric Ueland, the director of legislative affairs for the White House. 
 
Ueland added that ongoing work was "refining the understandings that we already have" as well as where the GOP chairmen "believe" there could be deals with Democrats by the time the forthcoming stimulus package will get a vote on the Senate floor. 
 
One option, described by Ueland, would be to put the text of areas that are not agreed to in brackets, to reflect that they are still in flux. 
 
 
 
"Democrats very much want to reach a bipartisan agreement to address this major health and economic crisis. There is not yet an agreement, and we still have not seen large parts of the Republican draft. We look forward to reviewing their first draft and negotiating a bipartisan compromise," the spokesman said. 
 
A Democratic aide said on Saturday night that Republicans "abruptly pulled out of negotiations" for unclear reasons. A second aide said while they had made progress, "there's certainly no final agreement."
 
Several GOP senators said that they expected the bill would be drafted even as outstanding sticking points remain, preventing negotiators from being able to reach a deal "in principle" — something Senate Majority McConnell had wanted by midnight Saturday. McConnell wants to circulate final bill text before an initial procedural vote set for 3 p.m. on Sunday. 
 
"Negotiation isn't over but we're going to have a massive bill that has both Republican and Democrat ideas in it," Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who has been leading the tax discussions, told reporters after a closed-door GOP meeting early Saturday evening. 
 
Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderSticking points force stimulus package talks to spill into Sunday GOP drafting stimulus package without deal with Democrats Senate coronavirus stimulus talks spill into Saturday MORE (R-Tenn.), who has been leading the healthcare discussions, said there would be a bill by Sunday that would have both "significant Democratic priorities, significant Republican priorities." 
 
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who has been leading the small business talks, said he felt good about the small business provisions of the bill, which he said he would be in the $350 billion range, but stopped short of saying if Democrats had agreed to the details. 
 
"I think we have a work product that is agreed to in terms of what we're trying to achieve," he said. 
 
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who has been a part of the tax and unemployment discussions, said that the text would reflect a "Democrat and Republican approach." 
 
"You're not going to have a product that's signed off by everybody tonight because there's still a couple of outstanding issues, but it will include a lot of Democratic ideas," he said.
 
Updated 11:07 p.m.