McConnell breaks from White House-Democratic negotiations, unveils separate bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced he will release a separate stimulus proposal worth $500 billion, significantly lower than the deal Democrats and the White House are negotiating.

“We’re going to go back on the floor next week, again, with a proposal more narrowly targeted,” McConnell said at an event in Kentucky on Tuesday. “I want to give my friends on the other side one more chance to do highly-targeted relief that the country desperately needs.”

The new proposal includes funding for the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), extra unemployment benefits, money for schools, and liability protections for businesses. McConnell is expected to put the proposal for a vote after the Senate returns on October 19.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 20: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (L) listens to U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters while hosting Republican congressional leaders and members of Trump's cabinet in the Oval Office at the White House July 20, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump and the congressional leaders talked about a proposed new round of financial stimulus to help the economy during the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (L) listens to U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters while hosting Republican congressional leaders and members of Trump’s cabinet in the Oval Office at the White House July 20, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

Soon after McConnell made his comments on the new targeted proposal, the president reiterated his support for a larger stimulus deal, tweeting “STIMULUS! Go big or go home!!!” on Tuesday.

The White House’s latest proposal is around $1.8 trillion, up from $1.6 trillion, and closer to the price tag of the Democrats’ latest $2.2 trillion stimulus proposal that passed the House in September.

McConnell’s new proposal has similar provisions to the one the GOP released in early September, which was worth $650 billion, but only $300 billion of that was new spending with the rest being repurposed money. The previous package was rejected in the Senate.

At least 38 states have paid out all their funds available under the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program. (David Foster/Yahoo Finance)
At least 41 states have paid out all their funds available under the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program. (David Foster/Yahoo Finance)

‘We cannot get an agreement just by folding’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who has been actively negotiating a new stimulus package with the White House, said that the latest offer by the administration falls short, but she still is hopeful for a deal.

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Sticking points for any deal between the White House and Democrats include aid for state and local governments, funding for schools, workers’ protections and child care support, rental assistance, funding for increased testing and tracing as well as funding for small businesses, elections, and the census.

“We really need to have an agreement, but we cannot have an agreement by just folding,” Pelosi said on a conference call with House Democrats on Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported. “I don’t think our leverage has ever been greater than it is now.”

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9, 2020 -- U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Oct. 9, 2020. U.S. President Donald Trump has approved a revised COVID-19 relief package in the negotiations with congressional Democrats, White House's National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said Friday. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is expected to discuss a new 1.8-trillion-U.S.-dollar relief proposal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when the two speak Friday afternoon, according to The Wall Street Journal. (Photo by Ting Shen/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/T IngShen/liujie via Getty Images)
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Oct. 9, 2020. (Xinhua/T IngShen/liujie via Getty Images)

Any deal reached by Democrats and the White House would likely face stiff opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate, where it would need 60 votes to pass.

In early August, McConnell said that the GOP would

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Democrats postpone House vote on COVID-19 stimulus bill to give more time for negotiations

WASHINGTON — House Democrats postponed a vote Wednesday on a $2.2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill in the hopes a deal could be reached as negotiations drag on with the White House on a plan to help Americans struggling from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. 

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The vote was postponed until Thursday to allow House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and White House negotiators more time to discuss a potential bipartisan deal, said a Democratic aide, who was unable to discuss internal deliberations publicly. 

Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met at the Capitol Wednesday for their first in-person negotiations since August. The two sides have been at an impasse for months over the size and scope of a COVID-19 relief bill, but rank-and-file members have pressured congressional leaders to get some sort of relief deal done by Election Day. 



Nancy Pelosi wearing a costume: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. speaks during a news conference Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington.


© Jose Luis Magana, AP
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. speaks during a news conference Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington.

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“We made a lot of progress over the last few days, we still don’t have an agreement, but we have more work to do. And we’re going to see where we end up,” Mnuchin said Wednesday. 

The House measure is a pared-down version of the legislation passed by House Democrats in May. It’s expected to pass the House, but will face opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate, where lawmakers have balked at a higher price tag for more relief.

House Democrats unveiled their proposal Monday, though House Republicans panned the bill as a “socialist wish list” and said they would oppose it. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters Wednesday it would be “outlandish”  to think Republicans would be on board with a $2 trillion bill, though he said he and other Republicans want to see relief for Americans.

“I mean we had 52 out of 53 republicans willing to spend roughly a half a trillion dollars,” McConnell added of a scaled-down $300 billion bill that was blocked in the Senate. “The thought that Senate Republicans would go up to 2.2 trillion is outlandish.” 

Pelosi said the vote, which was originally planned for Wednesday night, would “formalize our proffer to Republicans in the negotiations.”

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Video: Mnuchin: ‘We’re prepared to do’ stimulus deal if ‘fair compromise’ (Fox Business)

Mnuchin: ‘We’re prepared to do’ stimulus deal if ‘fair compromise’

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Asked if he would be able to negotiate a deal over $1.5 trillion, Mnuchin said, “We’re going to go back and do a little more work again.”

Many of the benefits Congress approved in the Spring to fight the economic impact of the virus have run out. The $600 federal boost to unemployment benefits halted in July,

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