Oct 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Senate to vote on GOP stimulus measures next week

Senator Mitch McConnell
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Senate will hold two votes next week on a Payroll Protection Program bill and $500 billion coronavirus relief package, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Saturday.

Why it matters: Hopes for a broader stimulus deal before November's election are fading as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary remain deadlocked in negotiations on a potential package that McConnell has said his caucus has no appetite for.

  • President Trump said last week he would "absolutely" go higher than a $1.8 trillion offer, and that he has directed Mnuchin to do so. But McConnell said he would not put such a deal on the floor, saying on Thursday, "My members think half a trillion dollars, highly targeted is the best way to go."
  • Pelosi said Friday that she and Mnuchin would likely continue negotiations over the weekend, per Reuters.
  • The House passed Democrats' revised $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill earlier this month.

Details: The Senate will first vote on Tuesday on the PPP measure, before voting Wednesday on a $500 billion stimulus bill that is nearly identical to the one that Democrats blocked in Sept.

  • The stimulus package includes additional unemployment benefits, more than $100 billion for schools, and additional funding for testing, contact tracing and Operation Warp Speed.

What he's saying: "Working families have spent months waiting for Speaker Pelosi’s Marie Antoinette act to stop. They should not have to wait any longer," McConnell said in a statement Saturday.

  • "These are just some of the urgent needs that Washington should meet immediately while debates continue over the rest. This is half a trillion dollars of good that Congress can do right now."

The other side: Pelosi told MSNBC last week that her "message is out there: ‘Help is on the way.  We want it safer.  We want it bigger, we want it better and it will be retroactive.’ ... In order to solve the problem, we have to crush the virus.  And [Republicans] still cannot face that reality.  They laugh it off. "

  • "If you're an essential worker, you have to go to work.  If you don't, you don’t get Unemployment Insurance.  But if you go to work, and your employer has not taken precautions and you get the virus, you have no recourse.  That's the McConnell language that he has in his bill.  And that is a stumbling block.  We cannot accept that," she added.

🎧 Go deeper: Axios Re:Cap discusses the stimulus stalemate with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. Listen via Apple, Spotify, or Axios.

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