Sen. Josh Hawley is pushing for the next coronavirus stimulus package to include language that would create a fully refundable tax credit for homeschooling expenses, a source familiar with the matter told FOX Business.
The Missouri Republican's push comes as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., tries to secure 51 votes for a scaled-back relief bill that's estimated to cost about $500 billion.
The legislation, which McConnell said could be released on Tuesday, is expected to include a partial restoration of federal unemployment benefits at $300 a week, aid to universities and schools and another round of funding for small businesses. McConnell said he will take steps to set up a floor vote as soon as this week.
Hawley is among some of the deficit-weary Republicans raising concerns about the cost of emergency spending.
"I hope any new Republican COVID bill will include help for working families having to homeschool for the first time – with so many schools closed or online and kids at home, working families need the support," Hawley tweeted on Tuesday.
The refundable tax credit could cover the cost of things such as curriculum materials, books, tech devices, laboratory equipment and organizational materials and supplies, such as notebooks and folders.
Still, even if McConnell's bill garners the 51 GOP votes, it will still miss the 60 votes needed to break a Democratic filibuster, potentially exacerbating the month-long stalemate between the White House and top Democrats over a deal.
At the heart of the fight is the price tag of the legislation: Democrats have offered to come down $1 trillion from the roughly $3 trillion HEROES Act, which the House passed in May.
But the White House and Republican leaders want to keep the price tag closer to $1 trillion amid growing concerns among some lawmakers over the nation's ballooning deficit, which is projected to hit a record-shattering $3.3 trillion this year, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Democrats are now saying they will only sit down with Republicans if they agree to a $2 trillion price tag.
"We have said again and again that we are willing to come down, meet them in the middle – that would be $2.2 trillion," Pelosi said at the end of August. "When they're ready to do that, we'll be ready to discuss and negotiate."