- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tore into House Democrats’ $2.2 trillion stimulus plan on Wednesday, describing it as “outlandish.”
- “We’re very, very far apart on a deal,” McConnell told reporters on Capitol Hill.
- Senate Republicans have balked at previous Democratic spending proposals and didn’t put their own $1 trillion plan to a vote in August.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday tore into House Democrats’ $2.2 trillion stimulus plan, describing it as “outlandish” and saying the amount is “too high.”
“We’re very, very far apart on a deal,” McConnell told reporters on Capitol Hill.
The Kentucky senator earlier in the day had assailed the Democratic proposal, saying it was not a serious attempt to bring Senate Republicans back to the negotiating table.
“The latest bill from the speaker is no more serious than any of their political stunts going back months,” McConnell said on the Senate floor, adding, “If they continue to refuse to get serious, then American families will continue to hurt.”
Pressure has mounted on lawmakers to strike a deal before they adjourn next week until after the election. Millions of Americans are out of work and struggling to afford food and rent. And many economists are urging Congress to authorize additional spending to keep individuals and businesses afloat.
Democrats initially set the stage for a Wednesday evening vote on their spending package. But they pushed it back until Thursday in hope of allowing more time for a last-minute agreement with the White House, CNN reported. It’s unlikely the Democratic plan would become law given staunch Republican opposition.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met for 90 minutes on Wednesday to discuss a compromise on a coronavirus relief package.
Pelosi said in a statement after the meeting that while some areas needed “further clarification,” talks would continue. Meanwhile, Mnuchin expressed optimism and told reporters there had been “a lot of progress over the last few days,” per Capitol Hill pool reports.
“We still don’t have an agreement, but we have more work to do,” he said. “And we’re going to see where we end up.”
Earlier in the day, Mnuchin characterized the counteroffer as a $1.5 trillion relief plan comparable to one put forward by a bipartisan group of lawmakers earlier this month.
If a last-minute deal is reached between Democrats and the White House, its unclear whether Republicans in the Senate would support a deal that would likely carry a price tag that’s $1.5 trillion or above.
House Democrats on Monday unveiled their plan, a slimmer version of a $3.4 trillion economic aid package they approved in May but Republicans swiftly rejected at the time.
Measures include restoring the $600 weekly federal unemployment benefit until January, sending another round of $1,200 direct payments to taxpayers, and providing additional federal aid to states and small businesses.
Senate Republicans rolled out a $1 trillion stimulus plan in late July. But it failed to draw significant support among GOP senators, many of whom opposed government spending that would add to the federal debt. Another $650 billion GOP proposal was blocked by Democrats earlier this month, who dismissed it as inadequate.
Both parties remain apart on numerous issues, including federal unemployment benefits, state aid, liability protections for businesses, and overall spending levels.