"This relief was never going to last forever."
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday introduced a drastically scaled back version of a coronavirus relief bill, which Republicans sought just weeks ago, down to $300 billion in aid from $1 trillion.
A previous round of talks between White House negotiators and top congressional Democrats fell apart a month ago with the two parties some $2 trillion apart.
On Tuesday, McConnell outlined some of what's offered in the amended Republican proposal, which would provide a $300-per-week federal unemployment benefit, down from a $600-per-week provision that ended over a month ago.
"I'm talking about policies like extending the additional federal unemployment benefits for jobless workers. Providing a second round of job-saving paycheck protection program for the hardest-hit small businesses to prevent layoffs."
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer dismissed the new bill as a political stunt inadequate to responding to a pandemic that has killed nearly 190,000 Americans - more than in any other country in the world.
"This latest and sorriest Republican proposal is laden with poison pills that our colleagues know Democrats would never support... It even includes a provision that could fast-track coal mining operations, because God forbid our Republican friends miss an opportunity to reward corporate polluters in their coronavirus relief bill."
Over $3 trillion in economic stimulus and aid has already been approved to battle the economic fallout from the virus that has thrown millions out of work.
Republican aides said the bill includes $10 billion for the U.S. Postal Service, which is preparing for a large number of mail-in ballots for the Nov. 3 presidential and congressional elections.