Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says there is “no reason” that a second COVID-19 stimulus relief plan shouldn’t pass by the end of the year.
“There is no reason – none – why we should not deliver another major pandemic relief package to help the American people through what seems poised to be the last chapters of this battle,” McConnell said on the Senate floor, according to Fox Business.
A second plan is likely to include such things as a second COVID-19 stimulus check and enhanced unemployment benefits. The concept of a second plan has bogged down in endless recriminations between Senate Republicans and House Democrats. With control of the Senate to be determined by two Georgia Senate runoffs, it’s possible that things could shift in January.
However, McConnell upped the rhetorical ante against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in urging her to agree to a deal by the end of 2020.
Here’s what you need to know:
McConnell Accused Pelosi of Being an Obstructionist in a Tweet
In a tweet on Nov. 30, McConnell accused Pelosi of obstructionism. “The American people need more help now. Congress should deliver more COVID relief this year,” he wrote.
“Even House and Senate Democrats are publicly saying that Speaker Pelosi’s and Leader Schumer’s all-or-nothing obstruction needs to stop.”
He’s been saying such things for weeks. Ten days before, he wrote, “Our country badly needs the kinds of targeted, urgent COVID relief that Republicans have been trying to pass for months — from job-saving PPP funding to vaccine distribution.” At that time, he also released a statement that read, “There is an obvious right use for these hundreds of billions of dollars of already-allocated but unused funds. Congress should repurpose this money toward the kinds of urgent, important, and targeted relief measures that Republicans have been trying to pass for months, but which Democrats have repeatedly blocked with all-or-nothing demands.”
Continued McConnell, “American workers should not lose their jobs needlessly when a second round of the job-saving Paycheck Protection Program for the hardest-hit small businesses would make a huge difference. Our medical system should not be denied additional support, including for distributing the life-saving vaccines that appear to be on the horizon. Republicans continue to support passing these kinds of urgent and targeted measures as soon as possible.”
A New Bipartisan Plan Is Being Proposed
A group of bipartisan lawmakers sick and tired of the back-and-forth bickering are presenting a new bipartisan plan for stimulus releief, according to CNBC.
Democrat Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, who is part of the group, told that network that the plan “will fall between the $500 billion and $2.2 trillion price tags” sought by leaders on each side. He dubbed it an “interim package” designed to help Americans until Joe Biden is inaugurated as president.
“If there’s one thing I’m hearing uniformly it’s: ‘Congress, do not leave town for the holidays leaving the country and the economy adrift with all these initial CARES [Act] programs running out,’” Warner told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”