- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell squashed House Democrats’ $ 2.2 trillion stimulus plan Wednesday, describing it as “extravagant.”
- “We are very, very distant on a deal,” McConnell told reporters on Capitol Hill.
- Senate Republicans opposed previous Democratic spending proposals and did not vote on their trillion-dollar plan in August.
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell struck down House Democrats’ $ 2.2 trillion stimulus plan Wednesday, describing it as “extravagant” and saying the amount is “too high.”
“We are very, very distant on a deal,” McConnell told reporters on Capitol Hill.
The Kentucky senator earlier in the day stormed the Democratic proposal, saying it was not a serious attempt to bring Senate Republicans back to the negotiating table.
“The speaker’s latest bill is no more serious than any of their political stunts from months ago,” McConnell told the Senate chamber, adding, “If they continue to refuse to get serious, American families they will continue to suffer “.
Pressure has increased on lawmakers to come to an agreement before they update next week until after the elections. Millions of Americans are out of work and struggle to afford food and rent. And many economists are urging Congress to authorize additional spending to keep individuals and businesses afloat.
The Democrats initially set the stage for a Wednesday night vote on their shopping package. But they postponed it until Thursday in hopes of allowing more time for a last-minute deal with the White House. CNN reported. The democratic plan is unlikely to become law given stiff Republican opposition.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met Wednesday for 90 minutes to discuss a compromise on a coronavirus aid package.
Read more: Stimulus talks continue as dealmakers push for another boost in unemployment payments. Here’s everything you need to know about the rescue package.
Pelosi said in a statement following the meeting that while some areas need “further clarification”, the talks will continue. Meanwhile, Mnuchin expressed optimism and told reporters that “a lot of progress has been made in recent days,” according to reports from the Capitol Hill pool.
“We don’t have a deal yet, but we have other work to do,” he said. “And we’ll see where we end up.”
Earlier in the day, Mnuchin called the counteroffer a $ 1.5 trillion relief plan comparable to the one presented by a bipartisan group of lawmakers earlier this month.
If a last-minute deal is reached between the Democrats and the White House, it’s unclear whether Republicans in the Senate would support a deal that would likely be priced at $ 1.5 trillion or more.
On Monday, Democrats in the House unveiled their plan, a leaner version of a $ 3.4 trillion economic aid package that they approved in May but which Republicans promptly rejected at the time.
The measures include restoring the $ 600 weekly federal unemployment benefit through January, sending another round of $ 1,200 direct payments to taxpayers, and providing additional federal aid to states and small businesses.
Senate Republicans launched a $ 1 trillion stimulus plan in late July. But it failed to gain significant support from GOP senators, many of whom opposed government spending that would add to federal debt. Another $ 650 billion GOP proposal was blocked by Democrats earlier this month, who rejected it as inadequate.
Both sides remain separate on a number of issues, including federal unemployment benefits, state aid, corporate liability protections, and overall spending levels.