Mitch McConnell Advises White House Against Stimulus Agreement With Pelosi Before Election
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said that he has advised the White House against making a COVID economic relief package agreement with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) prior to the election on November 3.
In a Senate GOP lunch, McConnell shared that Pelosi is working with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, but that negotiations towards an agreement are not going well. He said that whatever deal they reach could push back the Senate’s confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court next week. McConnell’s lunch with fellow GOP members was not a public event.
GOP members have already voiced their concerns with passing a stimulus deal before confirming a new justice, as well as right before a major election. McConnell has to approve of any economic relief package, so without his approval, no stimulus bill can become law in the weeks before the election.
The package would provide another round of $1200 stimulus checks, unemployment benefits, small business assistance, more money for coronavirus testing, support for airlines and hospitals and other COVID-related relief. Republicans have a strong possibility of losing control of the Senate on Nov. 3, and know that voting on a stimulus deal would lose them votes from voters who align as fiscally conservative.
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While McConnell stated his concerns, he did say that if an agreement was made between Mnuchin and Pelosi, and if it were passed by the House and earned support from President Donald Trump, he would consider putting it on the Senate floor, but only “at some point.” He did not state whether or not he would do so before the election.
Pelosi set a deadline of Tuesday for reaching a deal with the White House. Trump has, surprisingly, wanted to spend more than Pelosi’s $2.2 trillion proposal, and has said he sides with the Democrat consensus that new stimulus relief legislation would be highly beneficial towards America’s economy. When questioned on McConnell’s view of further stimulus, Trump said Tuesday that McConnell “will be onboard if something comes… Not every Republican agrees with me, but they will.”
While Pelosi and Mnuchin did not reach a deal on Tuesday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows shared with CNBC that the two had made “good progress” and would continue their negotiations on Wednesday. He said that the negotiators differ in their desires for the stimulus plan by “several hundred billion” dollars, and are also undecided at how much should be allocated in state and local economic relief.
Meadows also shared that the president is “very bullish” about reaching an agreement, and does not want a dollar amount to stand in the way of a deal. Trump himself said that he “wants to do it even bigger than the Democrats,” on the stimulus plan.
The public overwhelmingly supports a new stimulus package. On Tuesday, the New York Times and Siena College published a poll that showed massive support for a $2 trillion stimulus package, which was backed by many economists who are pushing policymakers to provide economic relief.
There has been no stimulus relief legislation passed by Congress since April. House Democrats passed the $3 trillion HEROES Act in May, but McConnell never put it put for a vote.
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