McConnell Says Senate Will Vote On Coronavirus Stimulus Package ‘As Soon As This Week’

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Henry Rodgers Chief National Correspondent
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the Senate will be voting on a phase 4 coronavirus stimulus package after months of stalled negotiations between Democrats and Republicans.

“Today, the Senate Republican majority is introducing a new targeted proposal, focused on some of the very most urgent healthcare, education, and economic issues… I will be moving immediately today to set up a floor vote as soon as this week,” McConnell said in a statement.

“Everything Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer have done suggests one simple motivation: They do not want American families to see any more bipartisan aid before the polls close on President Trump’s re-election. They have taken Americans’ health, jobs, and schools hostage for perceived partisan gain,” McConnell’s statement continued.

The bill is expected to be around $500 billion, according to The Hill. The legislation will include a federal unemployment benefit, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding and additional money for more coronavirus testing. If the bill is passed, money would also be reportedly directed to schools.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said August 26 that he reached out to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to restart negotiations for a phase 4 stimulus package. In an interview with Politico, Meadows said he had his staff contact Pelosi’s chief of staff about starting up another round of discussion for a coronavirus stimulus package, adding that he does not expect to hear back from her.

The White House and Congress failed to come to an agreement on legislation in August before recess.

“I actually had my staff reach out again yesterday to Speaker Pelosi’s chief of staff,” Meadows said.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speak to reporters after briefing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, on their meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, for coronavirus relief talks at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on August 3, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

“It’s really been Speaker Pelosi really driving this train as a conductor more so than really anybody,” Meadows added. “And I think privately she says she wants a deal and publicly she says she wants a deal, but when it comes to dealing with Republicans and the administration, we haven’t seen a lot of action.”

In late July, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced that the House would remain in session until a deal on a stimulus package is reached, but that did not happen. There are now no House votes until Sept. 14, and members will have 24 hours notice to return for any votes related to coronavirus.

Pelosi’s chief of staff Drew Hammill responded to Politico about Meadows’ comments, to which he said Pelosi would be glad to talk with the White House but that they must meet Democrats in the middle. (RELATED: Republicans Furious As Democrats Leave Town With No Deal)

“Democrats have compromised in these negotiations,” Hammill said in a statement. “We offered to come down $1 trillion if the White House would come up $1 trillion. We welcome the White House back to the negotiating table but they must meet us halfway.”