Even though Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, is moving to introduce his own measure as early as this week, some Republicans remain skeptical that another coronavirus package is even needed, arguing that some of the aid approved in the stimulus law enacted in March has yet to be spent.
Both parties remain far apart on a number of critical policy areas, including whether to maintain expanded the unemployment insurance benefits, which include an additional $600 per week. Democrats have said they will accept no less than the $3 trillion proposal House Democrats pushed through their chamber in May, while Republicans are eyeing closer to $1 trillion in new spending and aim to prioritize “kids, jobs, health care and liability protection,” according to Mr. McConnell.
But the suggestions from the administration, according to two officials familiar with them, also included funding priorities unrelated to the spread of the coronavirus, including constructing a new building for the F.B.I., a longtime priority for President Trump. The administration also suggested eliminating a proposed $2 billion allocated to the Indian Health Service, which is responsible for providing medical care to more than half of the nation’s tribal citizens and Alaska Natives, who have been devastated by the pandemic and are particularly vulnerable to the virus.
Left relatively unscathed, according to one official, was nearly $3 billion set aside for the Department of Homeland Security and close to $17 billion proposed for agriculture programs. Some senators are pushing to allocate even more aid for farmers and agriculture programs.
A senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Saturday that discussions were just beginning and that the White House’s team remained committed to ensuring “appropriate levels across all agencies to address this crisis.”
Led by Mr. Trump, the White House has also pushed for the inclusion of a payroll tax cut and tax deductions for dining and entertainment expenses, though members of both parties have been cool to the idea. It is unclear whether administration officials were continuing to push for such provisions in the opening proposal from Senate Republicans.
Katie Rogers and Alan Rappeport contributed reporting.