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Sen. Risch: New federal stimulus package will be 'much more focused than the last time'

Lawmakers are trying to get a stimulus package passed before they adjourn in two weeks, and the senator from Idaho is optimistic it will get done in time.

BOISE, Idaho — Congress is racing to get another stimulus bill passed before the Aug. 7 recess.

But it should come as no surprise that the two parties and the White House are at odds over the cost of the package and what should be in it.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he intends to announce the stimulus package proposal next week.

Republicans want it capped at $1 trillion, while Democrats want three times that amount.

Multiple news outlets are reporting that under the GOP plan, Americans would get another round of stimulus checks, matching the amount provided in the CARES Act. Individuals who earn less than $75,000 per year would get $1,200 while couples who earn less than $150,000 per year would get $2,400. There would also be a $500 stipend for dependent children.

RELATED: Will I get a second stimulus check? Answers to your stimulus check questions

Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) sat down for a virtual interview Thursday afternoon to discuss the latest round of stimulus funding and where it currently stands.

"What the attempt is going to be this time is to make it much, much, much more focused than the last time," Risch said. "And make sure that we're targeting individuals and businesses who truly do need the help because there are a lot of people out there that do need the help."

He added that he believes Congress will be able to pass the funding package by the time lawmakers adjourn on Aug. 7. But likely not before.

"It probably doesn't happen until the end of this session before we head home for the home work period," he said.

Risch and his colleagues are also closely tied to the school reopening situation. McConnell's proposal is said to have $105 billion earmarked to help schools bridge the budget shortfall gap.

The senator doesn't believe all Idaho districts will open as scheduled next month but said that the decision on that must be left to the individual districts.

"I'm like the president. I would like to see every school district open," he said. "But there's some that I don't think that would be possible. And every time we try to do something back here that's a one size fits all it almost always doesn't work, so this needs to be left up to the local school boards."

Risch told KTVB he expects this year's August break to a "working" recess as his office continues to assist businesses to navigate the Paycheck Protection Program and other pandemic-related issues.

RELATED: White House drops payroll tax cut as GOP unveils coronavirus aid

RELATED: Trump faces divisions with Senate GOP on virus aid

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