McConnell Says He Would Allow Trump-Backed Stimulus Deal a Vote in Senate

October 20, 2020 Updated: October 20, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Tuesday that if the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) agree to a deal on pandemic relief, he would bring it up for a vote on the Senate floor.

But he stopped short of saying whether he or other top GOP senators would support the measure. It’s also not clear whether the bill would see a vote before the Nov. 3 election.

“If a presidentially-supported bill clears the House at some point we’ll bring it to the floor,” McConnell told reporters during a news conference on Tuesday.

Whether the bill would garner support from Republican senators, he said that “we would have to see what it was first… if a deal is announced, it would have to be written and people would have to take a look at it.” However, “if such a deal were to clear the house, obviously with a presidential signature or promise, we would put it on the floor of the Senate and let the Senate consider it,” the majority leader added.

The Senate is slated to vote on a much smaller GOP-backed stimulus bill on Wednesday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are currently negotiating a CCP virus package between around $1.8 trillion and $2.2 trillion. President Donald Trump has signaled he was willing to offer more in recent interviews, and he predicted that the Senate would go along with his proposal.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Republican leadership, told reporters on Monday that it would be difficult to get Republicans to support a CCP virus deal.

“My guess is the leader is going to want to see some evidence that whatever is agreed upon has Republican support to try to convince Republicans over here to be for it,” he said, adding that “their natural instinct depending on how big it is and what’s in it is probably going to be to be against it.”

It came as Pelosi told reporters that she is more optimistic a deal can be hashed out with Mnuchin.

“It isn’t that this day was a day that we would have a deal, it was a day that we would have our terms on the table to be able to go to the next step,” Pelosi remarked, adding that she hopes it gets passed by Election Day.

On Monday, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters that the administration is increasing its offer to $1.9 trillion, as compared with the House Democrat-passed HEROES Act—worth $2.2 trillion. On the table is $1,200 stimulus payments, expanded unemployment benefits, state and city funding, funding for testing, reopening schools, and more.

“We’ve increased our offer up to almost $1.9 trillion,” Meadows told reporters near the White House. “[The president] is willing to give some additional money in terms of direct payments, he’s willing to give some additional money in terms of [small business loans] to restaurants and hotels and small businesses.”