Democratic leaders rejected Republicans’ $1 trillion coronavirus stimulus package on Thursday, saying it is “a partisan bill that will never become law.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer both criticized the legislation, saying it does not go far enough.
“What we have seen so far falls very short of the challenge that we face in order to defeat the virus, and in order to open our schools and open our economy,” Pelosi said. “We have to act. And what they’re proposing falls far short.”
Schumer said the package is “a partisan bill that will never become law just so they can muster up the courage to negotiate.”
“It appears the Republican legislative response to COVID is un-unified, unserious, unsatisfactory. The Republican disarray and dithering has seriously, potentially deadly consequences for tens of millions of Americans,” Schumer continued. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Congress, White House Unlikely To Deliver Phase 4 Stimulus Before Recess, Sources Say)
The White House and members of Congress have floated potential items for a Phase 4 coronavirus stimulus package for months. Such items include a payroll tax cut, a second round of direct payments to taxpayers and increased budgets for schools to reopen in the fall, but formal negotiation between the administration and Congressional leadership didn’t kick off until this week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy met with President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday.
The first round of bipartisan negotiations — featuring Pelosi, Schumer, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows — followed on Tuesday at the Capitol. (RELATED: McConnell Preparing New Bargaining Chip That Would Guarantee Phase 4 Bill Includes White House’s Employer Liability Protections)
Heading into Tuesday’s meeting, Meadows said that the group was eyeing a tentative July 31 deadline for the package, which happens to be the last day the House is currently scheduled to be in session. McConnell told reporters later in the day that it’s unrealistic to expect legislation to be passed within that timeline.
“Of course politically it should pass before August recess. Everyone wants to have something they can point to back at home,” one GOP Senate aide told Daily Caller. “But if the last CARES negotiation was any indication of what’s to come, I don’t see how that timeline is feasible. Let’s remember Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer derailed the process and critical relief for days back in March because they were clinging to pipe dream proposals that have nothing to do with defeating this virus or helping hardworking Americans overcome this economic crisis.”
“I wouldn’t hold my breath,” a second Senate staffer said in a statement to Caller. “Given how far apart both sides are right now, I’d be shocked if Congress is able to pass a comprehensive coronavirus response bill by the end of the month. Hopefully, Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats will put away their liberal wish list and come to the table.”
McConnell’s concerns about the bill’s timeline don’t just involve wooing House Democrats. More than a dozen Senate Republicans reportedly voiced serious displeasure at signing off on another $1 trillion package at Tuesday’s Conference lunch.