Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the Senate will be voting on a coronavirus stimulus Thursday after months of stalled negotiations between Democrats and Republicans.
“We have put together a new targeted proposal containing several of the most urgent and most popular policies that would help Americans right now. And tomorrow the whole Senate will vote on it,” McConnell said Wednesday on the Senate floor.
“It will be a procedural vote, it’s not a vote to pass our bill tomorrow precisely as written. It’s a vote for Senators to say whether they want to move forward toward huge amounts of relief for kids, for jobs, for health care or whether they are happier doing absolutely nothing,” McConnell continued.
He then went on to slam Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, saying they had not even read Republicans’ proposal before criticizing it.
“Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer were attacking our new proposal yesterday before they even read it, before it had even come out…They do not want any bipartisan relief whatsoever to reach American families prior to the election,” McConnell said.
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 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. (RELATED: McConnell Says Senate Will Vote On Coronavirus Stimulus Package ‘As Soon As This Week’)
“I actually had my staff reach out again yesterday to Speaker Pelosi’s chief of staff,” Meadows said.
“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.”