Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected a $900 billion COVID-19 stimulus relief proposal presented as a compromise by a bipartisan group of lawmakers.
“We just don’t have time to waste time,” McConnell said of the bipartisan proposal, according to CNBC. According to CNBC, McConnell said he wants to pass “targeted relief bill” instead. He’s previously supported a plan of about $500 billion.
For months, negotiations over a second stimulus relief plan have stalled as Democrats and Republicans haggle over the pricetag. A second round of COVID-19 stimulus checks, extra unemployment benefits, and relief for small businesses are all things that hang in the balance. Democrats have said they prefer a plan around $2.2 trillion, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has, as with McConnell, been unwilling to budge in the past.
However, according to Bloomberg, Democrats have now floated a new proposal, without saying how much it would cost. CNN reported that McConnell has also proposed his own new relief plan.
Here’s what you need to know:
McConnell Says ‘Waiting Until Next Year Is Not an Answer’
McConnell has said that a new stimulus relief plan is necessary. “Waiting until next year is not an answer,” he said, according to Bloomberg.
However, according to Bloomberg, several issues remain on the table, including whether President Trump would sign any proposal and whether to include governmental spending in the bill to avoid a December 11 governmental shutdown.
CNN reported that the new plan floated by McConnell on December 1 is very similar to the targeted $500 billion relief plan he has proposed before – and which failed to get the support of Democrats.
The Bipartisan Plan Emerged From Senators in Both Parties Who Were Frustrated by the Inaction
According to CNN, the bipartisan plan resulted from talks that included Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Bill Cassidy and Mitt Romney alongside Democratic Senators Joe Manchin, Mark Warner and Jeanne Shaheen and an independent, Angus King.
“I don’t have any prediction how the White House would react,” Romney said, according to NBC. “Covid has created a crisis. And in the crisis the people expect Congress to act.”
The bipartisan plan included extra unemployment benefits but left out a second round of COVID-19 stimulus checks, according to NBC News, which reported the plan, which has a pricetag in between previous amounts proposed by each side, was meant as a “bridge” proposal.
“Given the challenges of moving things across the Senate floor speedily, that would be a vehicle to add on whatever coronavirus relief bill we know will get a presidential signature,” McConnell told reporters, according to NBC. “Obviously, as was discussed earlier, you have to have Democratic votes to get through the House. I think it will all likely come in one package.”