Stimulus negotiations: Senate Republicans have a White House problem

(CNN)The White House and Senate Republicans managed to spend the opening day of stimulus negotiations at odds not with Democrats, but with one another. A final GOP proposal expected to sit around $1 trillion, which senators expected to be unveiled by mid-week, has several major holes and unfinished pieces, according to people directly involved. It has been, to say the least, an inauspicious start to a three-week sprint to lock in the second largest economic rescue package in US history. Bottom line: Republican senators know they need to figure things out quickly, expect they will and Tuesday is a crucial day to taking that step. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, held three significant meetings on Capitol Hill to try and pull things onto some semblance of a negotiating path. “We’ll get it together,” one GOP senator told CNN on Monday night. “Sometimes it takes some time to get everyone on the same page.” Of note: There’s a reason Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell didn’t move quickly on a second major stimulus proposal — his conference wasn’t on board. The disputes between Republicans and the White House are just the surface of some major underlying tensions among GOP senators that are likely to come to the forefront in the days ahead, aides tell CNN. The pitch will be, according to two GOP senators supportive of the forthcoming proposal, that unity will provide Republicans with the most leverage for the talks with Democrats. That, in the past, has been a message that moves the conference into line. But a number of Republicans are in a much different place than they were in March. The crux of the Senate GOP disputesThe White House. Period. The issues that have caused the most heartburn among GOP senators — so much so that dozens raised concerns to reporters on Monday night —
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