Republicans, Still at Odds Over Aid Package, Eye $1 Trillion Opening Offer

The administration also supports an additional round of stimulus checks, though most likely to a smaller group of Americans than received checks earlier this year, along with a variety of tax credits for struggling industries like tourism and hospitality — and more sweeping tax incentives to help companies that lose money this year convert those losses more easily into tax savings.

But Republicans have rejected some of the White House’s proposals, viewing them as tone deaf given that more than 3.8 million people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus and several states are seeing spikes in cases. In a meeting Monday evening, top Republicans raised concerns about the administration’s suggestion that the legislation eliminate billions of dollars to fund coronavirus testing and shore up federal health agencies, including a proposed $25 billion to states for conducting testing and contact tracing, as well as about $25 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health. (People familiar with the suggested funding levels for the proposal repeatedly cautioned that they were not final.)

Mr. Trump also continues to press for the inclusion of a payroll tax cut, a proposal that has struggled to gain traction on Capitol Hill, calling it “very important to me.”

Mr. Trump’s advocates will probably ensure that the tax cut is “at least included in the first draft,” Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Senate Republican, told reporters with a laugh. “It’s all going to come down to the consensus of where the votes are, and there are a lot of Republicans who don’t like it.”

While Mr. McConnell has been adamant that Republicans, who periodically bill themselves as guardians of the national deficit, want to keep the overall cost of the package down, Republican officials involved in the talks privately acknowledge that negotiations with Democrats will most likely push the price tag as high as $2 trillion.

As in those earlier negotiations, Democratic leaders have signaled they are willing to play hardball and withhold their votes — absorbing some political attacks for doing so — until Republicans agree to their demands for additional money, as they did during the debate over the $2.2 trillion stimulus law.

“It was our unity against a partisan, Republican first draft that allowed for significant improvements to be made — improvements that have benefited millions upon millions of Americans,” Mr. Schumer wrote to colleagues Monday morning. “I hope we will not have to repeat that process. But we will stand together again if we must.”

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting.