Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he will bring a coronavirus stimulus bill to the floor should an agreement be reached between the White House and the House of Representatives.
McConnell made the statement in a one-on-one interview with WSAZ on Wednesday, October 21. The Senate majority leader said he is ready for “a deal sometime soon,” after negotiations have gripped Capitol Hill for months.
“People are frustrated, I’m frustrated with this. We’ve been talking to the Democrats since July. They keep insisting on doing things that are totally unrelated to the problem,” he shared with the station. “For example, the Heroes Bill in the House that my political opponent (Amy McGrath) supports included health care for illegal immigrants, tax cuts for rich people in California and New York, and oh by the way, more money for Puerto Rico than for Kentucky.
“That was not the kind of bill that I thought was appropriate,” he added.
The stalemate continues as negotiators remain stuck on the overall price tag for the next relief bill.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been discussing a package in the range of $1.8 trillion to $2.2 trillion, including extended unemployment benefits and another round of stimulus checks, The Washington Post reported. Meanwhile, McConnell — who criticized Democrats of using an “all-or-nothing approach” — has expressed he cannot sell the administration’s $1.8 trillion proposal to his members, according to CNN.
McConnell told WSAZ his ideal bill is the one he recently introduced to the Senate, a targeted $500 billion relief plan for small businesses. But the bill, which included additional Paycheck Protection Program funds, was shot down by Senate Democrats on October 21, CNBC reported.
Here’s what you need to know:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Says Democrats & the White House Are ‘Just About There’
Pelosi told reporters on Thursday, October 22, that Democrats and the White House are “just about there” on a stimulus deal.
“I think we’re just about there,” the Speaker said on testing, tracing and healthcare provisions. She added they are close to coming to terms on the provision for another round of direct stimulus checks.
State and local aid, liability protections for businesses and the election provision remain unresolved, she continued.
“If we thought these talks did not have a purpose, and if we were not making progress, I wouldn’t spend five seconds in these conversations,” Pelosi said. “I do believe that both sides want to reach an agreement. I can’t answer for the disarray on the Senate side.”
President Donald Trump Accused Democrats of Holding up Legislation
On Wednesday, October 21, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to weigh in on the stalemate. He accused Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of holding up negotiations by pushing for aid for state and local governments in “poorly run” Democratic jurisdictions.
“Just don’t see any way Nancy Pelosi and Cryin’ Chuck Schumer will be willing to do what is right for our great American workers, or our wonderful USA itself, on Stimulus. Their primary focus is BAILING OUT poorly run (and high crime) Democrat cities and states….” he wrote. “Should take care of our people. It wasn’t their fault that the Plague came in from China!”
However, McConnell has starkly separated himself from the White House’s stance on stimulus.
The Senate majority leader told Republican Senators on Tuesday, October 20, that he advised the White House to avoid reaching a deal until after the November election, according to The New York Times. He cautioned against passing legislation that “most in the party cannot accept,” the newspaper added.