President Trump meets with GOP leaders to discuss stimulus bill

Vice President Mike Pence, left, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, center, and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, July 20, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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UPDATED 8:14 AM PT — Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Top GOP leaders are kicking off negotiations for the next stimulus package as relief funds are set to expire at the end of the month.

On Monday, President Trump met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at the White House to work on a strategy to provide relief to Americans.

One of President Trump’s key points was implementing a payroll tax cut, which he said must be in the bill.

“It’s a big saving for the people, it’s a tremendous saving, and I think it’s an incentive for companies to hire their workers back and to keep their workers,” stated the president. “The payroll tax cut to me is very important, we’re working on it.”

Meanwhile, McConnell’s $1 trillion plan includes funding to bolster testing. His package sets aside $75 billion for states to reopen schools and funds for another round of stimulus checks for Americans.

“We don’t need an epidemic of lawsuits on the heels of the pandemic we are already struggling with,” stated the Kentucky Republican. “Kids in school, jobs and pandemic health care is the theme of the proposal that we hope to come together and present to our Republicans.”

Mnuchin said the theme of the package should focus on developing a vaccine, reopening schools and getting Americans back to work. He said the administration plans on creating a vaccine by the end of the year.

The Treasury secretary also proposed cutting unemployment benefits to reduce government spending and rewards for employers who create safe working conditions.

“We’re going to make sure that we don’t pay people more money to stay home than go to work, we want to make sure that people who can go to work safely can do so,” Mnuchin stated. “We’ll have tax credits that incentivize businesses to bring people back to work, we’ll have tax credits for PPE, for safe work environment.”

The challenge will now be for Republican leaders to get Democrat lawmakers on board.

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