McConnell: New coronavirus relief ‘unlikely in the next 3 weeks’ as White House preps biggest offer yet
Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted that new coronavirus relief was unlikely to be passed before the election, even as the White House expressed more optimism Friday.
“I think the murkiness is a result of the proximity of the election and everybody kind of trying to elbow for political advantage,” the Kentucky Republican said at an event in his home state. “I’d like to see us rise above that like we did back in March and April, but I think that’s unlikely in the next three weeks.”
McConnell said he couldn’t say when relief might pass, it would depend on the agreement, but reiterated that the Senate’s first priority was confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
The White House is preparing to offer a new $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief deal two days after President Trump abruptly called off negotiations on another round of aid until after the election, jolting Wall Street and sending stocks tumbling.
Reversing course hours later, Trump on Twitter called for piecemeal relief measures, before negotiating the broader package.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is expected to discuss the proposal — the largest yet from the Trump administration — with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when the two speak Friday, according to White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow.
It marks an increase from the $1.6 trillion the administration had previously proposed. Pelosi rejected that as “inadequate,” after House Democrats passed a $2.2 trillion aid package last week.
“Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!” Trump tweeted on Friday.
It’s unclear what specific provisions will be included in the drafted legislation, but the earlier plan included a fresh round of $1,200 stimulus checks; expanded unemployment benefits at $400 per week and additional funding for state and local government– a sticking point for Democrats that Republicans were long hesitant of.
Fox News’ Jason Donner contributed to this report.