- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has told the White House to refrain from striking a stimulus deal before the election, The Washington Post reported.
- McConnell said he thought a stimulus agreement would complicate the GOP’s efforts to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court next week, The Post said.
- Many Republicans are reluctant to support a relief bill with a likely price tag ranging from nearly $US1.9 trillion to $US2.2 trillion.
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has warned the White House against striking a stimulus deal with Democrats before the election, The Washington Post reported.
The newspaper cited three sources familiar with the Kentucky senator’s comments at a closed-door lunch with Senate Republicans on Tuesday.
McConnell said he believed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was stringing Republicans along without intention to sign on to a broad relief package, The Post reported. He also said a deal could upend their efforts to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court next week.
McConnell’s comments reflect the wariness among many Republican senators toward the multitrillion-dollar stimulus plan taking shape between the Trump administration and Democrats. A White House spokesperson indicated the White House had made a nearly $US1.9 trillion stimulus offer in a Fox News interview on Tuesday.
Democrats led by Pelosi are pressing for $US2.2 trillion in further relief spending in ongoing negotiations with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The amounts under consideration are drawing scant support among Senate Republicans, some of whom have expressed concerns against deficit spending in recent months.
Trump, however, is sharply diverging from Senate Republicans on the size of an economic-aid package. He’s also insisting GOP lawmakers would fall in line if his administration reached a deal, though there’s little indication of that happening. Many Republicans recoiled at a $US1 trillion stimulus plan put forward earlier this summer.
McConnell said on Tuesday he would put a bipartisan relief package up to a vote, though not necessarily before the election.
“If a presidentially supported bill clears the House, at some point we’ll bring it to the floor,” he said, without laying out a timeline.
The president said again on Tuesday that he could back another big stimulus plan, one larger than Democrats are seeking. That may be giving the House speaker leverage to continue holding out for more, even as several Democrats call on her to strike a deal with the administration more quickly. The discussions have progressed erratically for several weeks.
Pelosi appeared to change course on a Tuesday deadline she set 48 hours earlier to broker a stimulus deal that could be considered before the election on November 3 and mentioned ongoing progress in the talks.
“It isn’t that this day is the day we would have a deal,” she said in a Bloomberg TV interview on Tuesday. “It’s a day when we would have our terms on the table to be able to go to the next step. Legislation takes a long time.”
The GOP-held Senate is preparing to vote this week on a set of standalone bills that Democrats are likely to reject as inadequate. Senators are set to vote on Tuesday on renewing the Paycheck Protection Program to aid small businesses, then on a $US500 billion coronavirus relief bill on Wednesday.
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