Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that GOP will vote on targeted a pandemic stimulus package this week, although it’s unlikely to receive bipartisan support or pass in the Democratic-controlled House.
“In July, we proposed another package worth more than $1 trillion,” he said, adding that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Senate Minority leader, didn’t approve.
McConnell then echoed a claim from President Donald Trump’s press conference on Monday, saying that both Schumer and Pelosi actually don’t want a deal to be made because it would potentially benefit Trump politically and bolster his reelection chances.
The latest GOP proposal will be “targeted” at healthcare, education, and economic issues, he said, adding that it will be introduced on Tuesday on the Senate floor.
Pelosi on Labor Day again accused the GOP and White House of stonewalling on negotiations.
“Sadly, this Labor Day, America’s workers are facing the staggering assault on their health and economic security from the unprecedented coronavirus crisis,” Pelosi said. “Yet, with millions of workers still unemployed and millions more at risk of losing their jobs, Republicans and the Trump Administration continue to ignore the scale of the crisis and refuse to lift a finger to help working families.”
The most contentious issue for both sides is whether to provide more than $900 billion in federal funding to state and local governments reeling during the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic. Before that, Republicans said they didn’t want to extend $600-per-week unemployment benefits ahead of a July 31 deadline to keep the program running.
Democrats have sought to tie to the federal aid to local jurisdictions and unemployment benefits to a broader package that would include stimulus payments, election security measures, providing more funding to hospitals, and more. In the Democrat-controlled House, the $3.5 trillion HEROES Act was passed, but it has not been taken up by the Senate.
Democrats have scaled down that bill to about $2.2 trillion while Republicans are working on a bill that is worth around $500 billion.
Pelosi added: “We must act quickly and decisively to defeat the virus, provide critical financial relief to state and local governments to preserve jobs, and keep workers safe with strong OSHA protections.”
Pelosi’s office has not responded to a request for comment.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said the Trump administration believes there is a “groundswell of support” among members of Congress to make a compromise.
“I know as late as 9 o’clock last night I was on the phone with a couple of senators as well as Senate leadership to make sure that we put forth a bill coming out of the Senate that at least provides a foundation for getting an agreement,” Meadows told Fox Business. “The stumbling block is aid to state and local governments,” Meadows added, referring to the nearly $1 trillion proposal.
Meadows, meanwhile, said that he “more optimistic” about a bipartisan deal.
The Senate returned to the Capitol on Tuesday following a several-week-long break. The House won’t convene for votes until Sept. 14, according to a schedule released by the House Majority leader’s office.