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Democrats seek to increase supplemental funding bill to $450 billion

Democrats seek to increase supplemental funding bill to $450 billion
© Greg Nash

Senate Democrats are calling for a $450 billion emergency spending package to be added to the stimulus bill, nearly twice the amount Republicans have appropriated and nearly ten times what the White House has requested.

Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahySenate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap On The Money: Democratic scramble complicates Biden's human infrastructure plan | Progressives push on student debt relief No designated survivor chosen for Biden's joint address to Congress MORE (Vt.), the senior Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, confirmed to reporters Sunday that he wants substantially more money for the emergency bill, which would appropriate tens of billions of dollars to Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation and Defense.

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden to meet with GOP senators amid infrastructure push The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Upbeat jobs data, relaxed COVID-19 restrictions offer rosier US picture How to fast-track climate action? EPA cutting super pollutant HFCs MORE (N.Y.) on Sunday afternoon criticized the Senate GOP draft bill for not providing enough money to health care providers and local governments.

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He said the proposal “significantly cut back on the money our hospitals, our cities, our medical workers and so many others needed during this crisis.”

Senate Republicans earlier on Sunday unveiled a plan to spend $242 billion in emergency funding, with $75 billion going to hospitals, $20 billion to veterans health care, and $20 billion to public transportation emergency relief among other priorities.

The request is one of several huge numbers negotiators on both sides have thrown into the mix.

Senate Democrats initially asked for $750 billion for a state stabilization fund, which Republicans have rejected.

Republicans meanwhile have asked for $500 billion in funding for the Treasury Department to cover Fed loans to distressed industries such as airlines, hotel chains, energy companies and even auto manufacturers.

The proposed Democratic number for the emergency supplemental package is nearly ten times the $45.8 billion supplemental spending request the White House budget office sent to Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

Democrats are asking for more money in other key areas. They want more money for hospitals and unemployment insurance, as well.

Democrats say Senate GOP bill would cover only three months of unemployment benefits, which they argue is substantially less than what is needed.