McConnell Shoots Down $1.8 Trillion Stimulus Deal, Breaking With Trump

October 15, 2020 Updated: October 15, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Oct. 15 said he doesn’t support a stimulus package worth $1.8 trillion or $2.2 trillion, what has been proposed by the White House and Democrats, respectively.

“I don’t think so. That’s where the administration is willing to go. My members think half a trillion dollars, highly targeted, is the best way to go,” McConnell told reporters when he was asked about the prospect of a deal. Last week, the Trump administration made the $1.8 trillion offer, and on Oct. 15, President Donald Trump said he wanted to pass a bill that’s worth more than that.

McConnell also said the White House bill is “not what I’m going to put on the floor.” Earlier this week, he said the GOP plans to pass a $500 billion deal.

McConnell, Trump, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are at odds on another stimulus relief bill and have proposed different price tags for different priorities. Trump in recent days ramped up his calls for another large spending package, saying Congress needs to “go big or go home” on a relief bill.

“We like stimulus, we want stimulus. We think we should have stimulus,” Trump told Fox News on Oct. 15, adding that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin “has not come home with the bacon.”

Congress passed the CARES Act in March before it was signed into law, authorizing the distribution of the payments, expanded unemployment benefits, and additional small-business loans.

Democrats in the House passed two iterations of the HEROES Act, but Republicans and the Trump administration said they were too expensive, that they’d essentially “bail out” Democratic municipalities, and that they contain too many unneeded provisions.

Last week, the White House offered a $1.8 trillion deal to counter Pelosi’s $2.2 trillion HEROES Act, which the speaker rejected. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) called on Pelosi to take the offer.

“Quite a few members feel this way,” Khanna told Roll Call, adding that at least 10 Democratic colleagues support the $1.8 trillion stimulus deal. “Now, I don’t know how many of them will be vocal, but members are hearing in their districts that people are suffering,” said Khanna, the vice-chair of Congressional Progressive Caucus. “We have a moral obligation to do something. We are the party that stands for the working poor.”

Pelosi said in an interview on Oct. 14 that the White House and Republicans aren’t taking the stimulus talks seriously.

“And what’s sad about it is, we could come [to an] agreement. We need to come to an agreement. You know this because you have been there,” she said, according to her office.