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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.

Go deeper

Jan 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

McConnell drops filibuster demand, paving way for power-sharing deal

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (R) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell attend a joint session of Congress. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has abandoned his demand that Democrats state, in writing, that they would not abandon the legislative filibuster.

Between the lines: McConnell was never going to agree to a 50-50 power sharing deal without putting up a fight over keeping the 60-vote threshold. But the minority leader ultimately caved after it became clear that delaying the organizing resolution was no longer feasible.

Schumer rattles reconciliation saber

More than an aisle separates Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, seen in the Senate Chamber after the Capitol siege. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Chuck Schumer is expected to telegraph, as soon as tonight, that he will use his political muscle to pass some of his party’s priorities — like President Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package.

Why it matters: While the Senate majority leader wants to work with Republicans on key legislation, advisers say, he will make clear that using the simple majority vote inherent in the budget reconciliation process is one of the big sticks at his disposal.

Jan 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Janet Yellen confirmed as Treasury secretary

Janet Yellen. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Senate voted 84-15 to confirm Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary on Monday.

Why it matters: Yellen is the first woman to serve as Treasury secretary, a Cabinet position that will be crucial in helping steer the country out of the pandemic-induced economic crisis.