(Reuters) – Republicans in the U.S. Congress are working on a narrow coronavirus stimulus bill that could be circulated to rank-and-file lawmakers as soon as this week, CNBC reported on Wednesday, citing sources.
For weeks now, Republicans and Democrats have been deadlocked over the size and shape of a fifth coronavirus-response bill, on top of the approximately $3 trillion already enacted into law.
Reuters has not confirmed the report. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, had no comment.
In mid-May, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives approved more than $3 trillion in additional aid to state and local governments, individuals, front-line medical workers and others in response to the coronavirus pandemic that has resulted in over 179,000 deaths in the United States alone.
McConnell responded earlier this month with a $1 trillion plan that focused largely on providing new limits on liability lawsuits for businesses and schools that reopen during the pandemic.
On Saturday, the House approved $25 billion in new aid for the U.S. Postal Service in a move that also would cancel a series of cost-cutting measures at the agency amid fears that they could hamper the delivery of mail-in ballots for the Nov. 3 presidential and congressional elections.
There has been speculation that the House bill could become a vehicle for approving a larger coronavirus bill if there was a bipartisan deal.
Currently, Congress is on a summer break until after the Sept. 7 Labor Day holiday.
(Reporting by Richard Cowan in Washington and Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Chris Reese and Lisa Shumaker)