GOP senators get ‘positive reception’ from Trump on flexible aid to states
Under Kennedy’s proposal, states and local governments could use the $150 billion allocated in the CARES Act for operating expenses that are not directly linked to the coronavirus. The money would not be able to go toward a state’s pension fund — an area of concern for many Republicans.
“If a municipality has a utility system, supplies electricity — people can’t pay for electricity right now — the municipality is not going to cut off our people. But on the other hand, they’ve got to pay for electricity,” Kennedy explained. “So they want cash flow.”
A senior administration official confirmed the White House is “quite interested” in the bill.
Kennedy added that he asked the president to speak with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) about the idea and expects to hear back from the White House about additional details in the next day or so.
In addition to Trump, the meeting included Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) also attended.
“It was a productive meeting. We made at least progress or baby steps towards having a resolution that creates more flexibility,” Scott said. “For me, as important as progress on the topic of the underlying issue is having guardrails.”