Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate would vote on a $500 billion coronavirus stimulus bill for the upcoming votings on Wednesday. It conflicts with President Trump’s recent $2 trillion bid. The Senate votes come as McConnell tries to increase political pressure on Democrats to support the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) measure as negotiations for a sweeping relief package remain stalled.
Senate Republicans on Tuesday would try to advance a stand-alone PPP bill to help small businesses amidst the coronavirus pandemic before moving Wednesday to vote on the same $500 billion stimulus bill blocked by Democrats last month.
Last week, Trump urged Senate Republicans to embrace the large pandemic aid bill. Still, McConnell rejected the idea and insisted on holding a vote to consider a $500 billion measure, considerably less than Trump’s $1.8 trillion plan.
Ahead of the November 3 election, the White House narrowed the distance with House Democrats’ bid of $2.2 trillion. As the Senate Judiciary Committee heard Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, the wrangling over the pandemic bill instigated.
Meanwhile, McConnell argued that the Senate has enough time to pass the Grand Old Party (GOP) stimulus package and confirm Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett if the Democrats do not obstruct the current legislation. The higher bipartisan deal remains elusive even with ongoing talks between top Democrats and the Trump administration.
The GOP bill will include funds for schools, expanded unemployment benefits, and a second round of the PPP as per McConnell’s statement. However, Democrats will likely dismiss the latest GOP proposal as sufficient due to conflict of interests, as Democrats accused McConnell of focusing on Barrett’s Chief Justice confirmation instead of passing stimulus legislation.
Although Democrats may not support it, McConnell stated that GOP Senators would still attempt to push the “targeted” coronavirus relief bill.
“Republicans do not agree that nothing is better than something for working families. The American people need Democrats to stop blocking bipartisan funding and let us replenish the PPP before more Americans lose their jobs needlessly.”Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office stated that she would speak with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin despite the significant policy disputes between the stimulus bill. Pelosi and Mnuchin have yet to reach an agreement due to the remaining discrepancies. Meanwhile, Congress has not filed any relief legislation in months as the coronavirus worsens across the U.S., and millions of Americans remain unemployed.