In an attempt to break a stalemate on the next coronavirus relief package, several Republican senators are meeting with Democrats behind-the-scenes to figure out how to come to an agreement, The Hill reports.
Several GOP senators said Tuesday they are meeting with the opposing party’s rank-and-file members to try to come to a consensus.
"I've been talking to members on the other side of the aisle about what we might do as individual members to help facilitate a little more progress," Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, told reporters.
She said she felt "discouragement" as lawmakers are three days out from the start of a recess without more answers about how a put a deal together.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, also told reporters he was meeting with some Democrats “behind-the-scenes” to “get something done on UI [unemployment insurance], whether it's a return to work bonus or something else."
A GOP senator told The Hill that Democrats are "floating different ideas" as part of the discussions.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows have been trying to negotiate a fifth coronavirus stimulus package with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., for about a week.
Lawmakers have been divided on several elements of the package and the negotiations have slowed down, according to The Hill.
One major sticking point is whether to extend extra $600 federal unemployment insurance to Americans out of work. Another topic that has lawmakers split involves whether to give money to state and local governments facing budget shortfalls amid the pandemic.
Lawmakers from both the House and Senate agree on providing Americans with another round of stimulus checks.
Trump administration officials and top Democrats said talks held on Saturday and Monday were productive, but cautioned that they are far from reaching any type of deal.
"I believe we're making progress. We came closer on several issues. However, we remain far apart on a number of issues, but we're finally moving in the right direction," Schumer said from the Senate floor on Tuesday.
If the meetings between the Republicans and Democrats amount to any agreement, a proposal would still have to receive support from White House officials and party leadership.
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