WASHINGTON (AP) – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he is planning a procedural vote on a GOP COVID-19 relief bill next week to advance aid to hard-hit businesses in a smaller approach to virus relief that the Believe Democrats won. I won’t go for.
The Kentucky Republican says the first item on the Senate deal when the Chamber returns next Monday will be a procedural vote on a reduced auxiliary bill. The Democrats filibustered a GOP-drafted aid bill last month, and recent talks between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Likely fell apart last weekend.
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McConnell’s move seems unlikely. The COVID aid debate appears to have returned to a phase where participants have largely given up and devoted time and effort to pre-election political positioning rather than negotiations and compromises.
For her part, Pelosi defended her calls for more than $ 2 trillion in COVID relief during a conference call with fellow Democrats and a combative performance with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, who urged her to accept a $ 1.8 trillion White House offer Reject dollars. Pelosi said a handful of Democratic critics had “no idea of the details” of their negotiations with the government.
President Donald Trump continues to agitate for “incentives,” saying Capitol Hill Republicans should get “big” rather than the limited approach they advocated.
Opinion polls show that additional coronavirus relief is a higher priority for most voters than swiftly approving Trump’s appointment of Appeal Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. While many Republicans are skeptical about the need for more viruses such as special unemployment benefits or direct payments to most taxpayers, some GOP senators are looking for more help in difficult re-election races.
The economy rebounded better than expected in March following the huge fiscal stimulus provided by the $ 2 trillion CARES bill. However, aid to small businesses has largely been suspended and additional unemployment benefits have been used up while airlines and restaurants are in dire need of help. Pelosi is adamant about tax credits for the working poor and aid to renters and homeowners, but Republicans are against it.
Under Senate rules, McConnell can call for a revision of September legislation that the Democrats found insufficient. It doesn’t satisfy Trump either, in part because it didn’t include another round of $ 1,200 in direct payments going out under his name.
McConnell could also change the previous GOP bill.
The previous Tuesday, Pelosi again issued a statement criticizing Trump for mainly caring about direct payments.
“A fly on the wall or wherever else it might end up in the Oval Office tells me the president just wants his name to go out on a check before election day and the market goes up,” Pelosi said in a letter to her Colleagues.
She defended her tough position on a conference call Tuesday with fellow Democrats, claiming Democrats had more clout than ever. However, the risk of coming up empty-handed by next year seems very real.
Talks on the final potential round of COVID relief began in July, collapsed in August, and were revived last month. In the last week alone, Trump broke Tuesday’s talks to revive them en route to the weekend. They cracked again on Saturday after Trump’s latest $ 1.8 trillion proposal was badly shelled by both Democrats and Trump’s GOP allies.
Republicans are again offering smaller, more targeted aid that would allow vulnerable party members to re-step in in favor of the aid, even if it’s a Democratic non-starter and Trump is against it.
“What I hear from Senator McConnell is to take another little slice and be satisfied. What I’m hearing from the president is just the opposite, ”said Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill. “Can the two sit down and agree? Wouldn’t that be a breakthrough? “
Some Democrats believe Joe Biden is ready to retake the White House and have pressured Pelosi into a less ambitious deal that would bring help now rather than leave the economy struggling unaided until next year . Pelosi’s response was to seek statements from numerous committee chairs criticizing the administration’s recent offer.
“If Congress doesn’t act, the next president will inherit a real mess,” said Harvard economist Jason Furman, a former top advisor to President Barack Obama. “If the Senate could pass the Mnuchin deal – which is a big ‘if’ – that would be a lot better than waiting to get more in January.”
“Nobody waits until February,” Pelosi told CNN.