GOP splits as virus aid package could swell past $1 trillion

White House officials are negotiating with Congress over money to reopen schools, help small businesses and Americans, and boost virus testing.

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National News

July 22, 2020 - 9:45 AM

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell R-KY removes his face mask to speak to the media, after a Republican policy luncheon at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on June 9, 2020. Photo by (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The price tag for the next COVID-19 aid package could quickly swell above $1 trillion as White House officials negotiate with Congress over money to reopen schools, prop up small businesses, boost virus testing and keep cash flowing to Americans while the virus crisis deepens in the U.S.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday promised a new round of direct payments to earners below a certain income level, similar to the $1,200 checks sent in the spring. President Donald Trump insists on a payroll tax holiday for workers. And Democrats want billions to outfit schools and shore up local governments.

“Regretfully, this is not over,” McConnell said after a raucous private GOP lunch, urging Americans to learn to live with the new virus by wearing masks and practicing social distancing until a vaccine can be found.

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