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Stimulus fight reboots after Election Day
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WASHINGTON—Republican and Democratic lawmakers braced for a volatile lame-duck session, with another clash brewing over coronavirus aid and the outcome of the race for the White House, as well as some key Senate and House contests, still up in the air.
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Each party logged victories in this week’s results, leaving neither side ready to make dramatic concessions in the long-running deliberations over another coronavirus relief bill. Democrats pointed to the likely path for their presidential nominee, Joe Biden, winning the White House, while Republicans said their unexpected gains in the House and victories in many contested Senate seats should compel new compromises from Democrats.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) is expected by lawmakers and aides to assume a larger role in negotiations that he had largely ceded to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Mr. Mnuchin failed to strike an agreement with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) during weeks of talks leading up to the election, and White House negotiators were often out of sync with Senate Republicans.
Mr. McConnell moved swiftly to plant markers this week, urging lawmakers to reach an agreement around a new Covid-19 relief deal before the end of the year. He pointed to data released Friday showing that the jobless rate had declined to 6.9% to highlight the logic behind the Senate Republicans’ roughly $650 billion proposal, far smaller than the $2 trillion Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Mnuchin had been discussing.