Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has warned President Donald Trump’s administration to not make a deal on stimulus relief with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
That’s according to the Washington Post, which reported on October 21 that McConnell’s actions make a stimulus relief package less likely. That news comes as the Senate Majority Leader revealed he was calling two votes on stimulus relief, with the Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, labeling those measures a “stunt.”
McConnell called a vote on the Paycheck Protection Plan to help small businesses cope with the pandemic and, on Wednesday, he was poised to call a vote on a $500 billion stimulus relief plan, which is far less than the $2.2 trillion passed by Pelosi’s Democrats and less than the $1.8 trillion floated by the White House. Neither side has agreed on the overall price tag of a plan that would include such things as direct payments for Americans and extended unemployment benefits.
McConnell has been having difficulty getting enough Republicans in line to embrace an amount higher than the $500 billion he has already championed. Yet, the Democrats previously shot down the same amount when McConnell tried to get it through before. Republicans need Democratic votes to get a plan through. But Democrats need Republican votes to get a plan through. Thus, a stalemate has resulted with the election looming.
Here’s what you need to know:
McConnell Is Concerned That Democrats Are Trying to Derail the Supreme Court Nomination
Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have continued negotiating over a stimulus relief plan, but each day has passed without a plan. According to The Post, McConnell doesn’t believe that Pelosi is negotiating in good faith and he is concerned she’s trying to affect the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett.
The New York Times reported that McConnell believes a deal now right before the election would distract Senators from the Barrett nomination and would put pressure on those who are facing top election battles themselves in November to side with the president against their best instincts when it comes to curtailing federal spending.
For his part, Trump went on Fox News and claimed that McConnell “would be on board if something comes. Not every Republican agrees with me, but they will.” The president was referring to Pelosi’s continued negotiations with Mnuchin.
Republicans have steadfastly opposed having a “2” in the overall price tag of a second stimulus package, but that’s a lot more than McConnell’s $500 billion.
Meanwhile the White House & Pelosi Have Sounded More Positive Lately
Meanwhile, administration officials and Pelosi continue to meet. “We’re not just down to a difference of language or a few dollars,” Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, said on CNBC. “We still have a ways to go, but I would say that the conversations today were productive enough to continue to have discussions tomorrow.”
According to CNN, Pelosi was sounding fairly optimistic. “Our conversation provided more clarity and common ground as we move closer to an agreement,” Pelosi wrote her colleagues on October 20, according to CNN. “Today’s deadline enabled us to see that decisions could be reached and language could be exchanged, demonstrating that both sides are serious about finding a compromise.”
CNN reported that McConnell promised any such deal between the Trump administration and House Democrats would come to the Senate floor, but he didn’t promise to do so before the presidential election.