On Wednesday, US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that both sides of the aisle are still “very, very far apart” on negotiations surrounding another stimulus bill.
He specified that Democrats and Republicans still cannot agree on the total price of a relief package, and described House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s $2.2 trillion proposal as “outlandish.”
The package, which is still being called the HEROES Act, was unveiled on September 28, and includes a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks, along with $600 per week in enhanced federal unemployment benefits, according to CNBC.
But McConnell has been quick to dismiss it, saying that the bill is “no more serious than any of their political stunts going back months.”
He added, “If they continue to refuse to get serious, then American families will continue to hurt.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Congress Adjourns Next Week
The window to reach a consensus on a stimulus package is narrowing, as Congress will adjourn next week until after the election.
Despite Republicans’ condemnation of the bill, Pelosi says that House Democrats will move forward with a Wednesday evening vote.
“We will be proceeding with our vote tonight on the updated Heroes Act in order to formalize our offer to Republicans in the negotiations to address the health and economic catastrophe in our country,” she said, according to Business Insider.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, for one, has expressed optimism that Congress will be able to reach an agreement before it adjourns. On Wednesday, he told reporters, “We made a lot of progress over the last few days, we still don’t have an agreement, but we have more work to do. And we’re gonna see where we end up.”
Disagreement on the Overall Price of a Bill
For months, both sides of the aisle have vocalized their approval for a second round of stimulus checks. They have also reached common ground when it comes to aspects like the Paycheck Protection Program and school funding.
The sticking point is still the overall price of a stimulus package. While the Democratic proposal of $2.2 trillion was scaled back from their original $3.4 billion bill that passed in May, Republicans have said they are determined to stay in the $650 billion to $1 trillion range, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Speaking during the Delivering Alpha conference presented by CNBC and Institutional Investor on Wednesday, Mnuchin said, “… we’re going to give it one more serious try to get this done and I think we’re hopeful…”
He noted that the offer he intends to propose will “resemble the roughly $1.5 trillion bipartisan House Problem Solvers caucus proposal put forward earlier this month,” in the words of CNBC.
Pelosi echoed those sentiments, saying on Wednesday that talks between negotiators will continue despite not yet reaching a deal on pandemic relief. “Today, Secretary Mnuchin and I had an extensive conversation and we found areas where we are seeking further clarification. Our conversations will continue,” she said.
Pelosi added, “We will be proceeding with our vote tonight on the updated Heroes Act in order to formalize our proffer to Republicans in the negotiations to address the health and economic catastrophe in our country.”
This post will be updated with more information as it becomes available.
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