Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday he saw “hopeful signs” that a coronavirus stimulus deal would be concluded before the end of the year.
“The compromise is within reach. We know where we agree. We can do that,” the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor.
Whether the House Democrats, who will pass any bill in the Senate, will accept McConnell’s compromise ideas is yet to come. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y. they reduced their aid needs on Wednesday when a $ 908 billion bipartisan proposal was adopted as a starting point for talks with McConnell.
Nevertheless, the head of the GOP rejected the proposal when it was released by a bicameral group this week. He unveiled his own roughly $ 500 billion plan.
On Thursday, McConnell called for a similar agreement to the one he presented. This includes loan financing for the Paycheck Protection Program, as well as money for education and the distribution of vaccines. Democrats supported these provisions.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is holding a press conference at the U.S. Capitol after the Senate’s Republican political lunch was held in Washington, DC, on December 1, 2020, in the United States.
Tom Williams | Reuters
At the same time, it contains a piece that Democrats find toxic: Covid-19 accountability for businesses and universities. Pelosi and Schumer have also repeatedly called for the replacement of state and local government subsidies and federal unemployment benefits, which is not included in McConnell’s plan.
Speaking on the Senate floor after his Republican counterpart, Schumer said McConnell “seems unwilling to compromise.”
The surge in coronavirus infection and record hospital care have led to new economic constraints and fears of a weakening labor market. At the same time, the protection for unemployed Americans, tenants and federal student borrowers introduced earlier this year is coming to an end.
Congress has a short time to send further help. Leaders have indicated they can attach relief measures to a government funding bill that they must approve by 11 December.
Earlier Thursday, Senate Democrat No. 2 called for a $ 908 billion package. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois told MSNBC that “we don’t want to go home and face the reality of what will happen at the end of this month.”
“It’s inescapable. We have to move forward and we want our account to be called,” he said.
Durbin and elected president Joe Biden described the proposal as an imperfect advance, while Democrats are pushing for a comprehensive aid package. Congress leaders have acknowledged that after Biden takes office, they are likely to consider greater relief next year.
Some Republican senators had little or no acceptance of the new stimulus spending because they thought the economy had improved enough to sustain Americans until a large portion of the population was vaccinated. Other GOP lawmakers say the federal government needs to provide more support at a time when more than 20 million Americans are receiving some form of unemployment benefits and food banks across the country are seeing unprecedented demand.
New York Republican Tom Reed, who helped develop the $ 908 billion plan on the side of the house, told CNBC the price tag was “in reasonable range.”
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