Stimulus Package 2: Biden Blames McConnell for Failure to Get Plan Passed

Getty Joe Biden and Donald Trump

Former Vice President Joe Biden placed the blame on the leader of Senate Republicans when asked about a second stimulus package.

Biden was asked about the package during the second presidential debate, which was held on October 22. Kristen Welker, the NBC journalist who was the moderator, challenged Biden on why, as the leader of the Democratic Party, he wasn’t able to get a relief package done.

A second stimulus package has been stalled in Congress. To pass one will require support from both Republicans and Democrats, but Democrats control the U.S. House, and Republicans control the U.S. Senate. The two sides have been unable to agree. The White House has also been involved in the negotiations and has, at times, been at loggerheads with Senate Republicans as well as Democrats.

Democrats passed a proposal for $2.2 trillion; the White House offered $1.8 trillion; and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says his Republicans in the Senate will only go for $500 billion. And so the negotiations have remained, with everything from stimulus checks to extra unemployment benefits hanging in the balance.

For his part, President Donald Trump was asked by Welker about a second stimulus package too and blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In fairness, neither Trump nor Biden has the power to get a package done (Congress has funding authority per the U.S. Constitution), but Welker’s questions focused on their leadership within their own parties to get others to act.

Here’s what you need to know:

Biden Says McConnell Is the Reason Another Stimulus Package Hasn’t Gone Through

GettyFormer vice presidential candidate and current 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden (left) and current President Donald Trump, who is running for reelection (right).

Biden’s response to the stimulus package question mirrored comments Pelosi has made in the past, casting blame on McConnell.

Biden said McConnell, “said he can’t pass it. He will not be able to pass it. He does not have Republican votes.”

Of Trump, the Democratic presidential nominee said, “Why isn’t he talking to his Republican friends?”

The moderator turned the tables on Biden and asked why he hasn’t used his bully pulpit, so to speak, with Democrats to get them to agree to a proposal. He said that he’s tried, and they’ve tried.

Biden said, “They passed this act in the beginning of the summer. It’s not new.” He was referring to the Heroes Act, which the Democrats approved with a price tag of $2.2 trillion, and said it “has been sitting there, and look at what’s happening.”

Trump Blamed Nancy Pelosi, Claiming She Doesn’t Want to Pass a Second Plan

GettyPresident Donald Trump.

Trump put the blame on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, and he accused her of not wanting a plan to go through because he argues she thinks it will give her side electoral advantage during the presidential election.

The moderator told Trump that Americans “see Washington fighting over a relief bill. Mr. President, why haven’t you been able to get them the help?”

“Because Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to approve it. I do,” Trump said.

“But you’re the president,” said the moderator.

But Trump said he believes Americans put the blame on Pelosi and said: “One of the reasons I think we will take over the House because of her.”

“Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to approve anything because she’d love to have some victories on a date called November 3,” Trump said. “Nancy Pelosi does not want to approve it. we are ready willing and able to do something…don’t forget we’ve already approved three plans. And it’s gone through including the Democrats in all fairness. This one she doesn’t want. It’s near the election because she thinks it helps her politically. I think it hurts her politically.”

Pelosi & the White House Continue Negotiations

stimulus Pelosi Mnuchin

GettyU.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Despite the debate rhetoric Pelosi continues to meet with administration officials, namely Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill wrote on Twitter on October 22:

“The Speaker & Secretary Mnuchin spoke today at 2:30 pm for 48 minutes. Today’s conversation brings us closer to being able to put pen to paper to write legislation. With the exchange of legislative language, we are better prepared to reach compromise on several priorities. Differences continue to be narrowed on health priorities, including language providing a national strategic testing and contract tracing plan, but more work needs to be done to ensure that schools are the safest places in America for children to learn. The Speaker and Secretary plan to speak again tomorrow hopefully with further guidance from committee chairs as they work to resolve open questions.”

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