McConnell Raises Doubts on Congress Getting New Stimulus Done
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed doubts about whether Congress can get a deal on another pandemic relief package after lawmakers return to Washington after a month-long recess, despite the Trump administration push for a quick, targeted stimulus.
“I don’t know if there will be another package in the next few weeks or not,” McConnell said at an event at a hospital in his home state of Kentucky. He said that talks between top administration officials and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi haven’t been fruitful, and that any embrace of bipartisanship in the Capitol has “descended” as the fall elections near.
His comments come a day after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified to Congress that parts of the U.S. economy urgently need additional fiscal stimulus to fully rebound from the Covid-19 crisis. Mnuchin told a House panel the most important thing is “that we deliver some relief quickly to the American workers impacted by this.”
Mnuchin later initiated a call with Pelosi, amid the stalemate in talks. In a statement Tuesday night, the speaker said she told the Treasury chief that Democrats have “serious questions” remaining in any negotiations. That includes, she said, the view of the administration that a smaller package can be pursued now and a larger one later.
“Sadly, this phone call made clear that Democrats and the White House continue to have serious differences understanding the gravity of the situation that America’s working families are facing,” Pelosi said in her statement.
There have been no negotiations since the last round broke up almost a month ago. Democrats have offered to lower their demand for a $3.5 trillion package to about $2.2 trillion. Senate Republicans originally put forth a $1 trillion plan, but are now discussing with the administration a smaller $500 billion package they say will be more focused on areas of the economy most affected by the pandemic. Mnuchin singled out the travel industry and small businesses as needing more aid.
Wyoming Senator John Barrasso, a member of McConnell’s GOP leadership team, said at the Capitol Tuesday that the Senate may consider the legislation when it returns next week. But some Republican senators oppose any additional economic stimulus. And a move to actually consider the bill would need 60 votes in the Senate, with Democrats likely to block it.
Source: Read Full Article