WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said he plans to bring a $500 million targeted COVID-19 relief back to the Senate floor next week.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, argues the bill doesn’t provide enough relief to struggling Americans.
“He knows that’s not going anywhere,” Leahy said of McConnell’s proposal. “It does nothing to take care of people with COVID, it does not guarantee their healthcare.”
The bill would include funds for unemployment assistance, schools and small businesses, but falls short on Democrats’ demands.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, said Democrats want a deal, but need a consistent negotiating partner.
“The Republican side is all fractured and arguing with itself and that makes it really hard for Democrats,” Whitehouse said.
Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, wants Democrats to do more than simply reject their offer.
“Vote to proceed on that bill and then let’s start amending it and let’s pass something,” Kennedy said.
President Donald Trump said Congress should “go big” on the next COVID-19 relief bill, but Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin doesn’t expect an agreement anytime soon.
“I’d say at this point, getting something done before the election and executing on that would be difficult,” he said.
The White House introduced its own $1.8 trillion offer, but only House Republicans appear to support it.
“I think the American people would want to have anything go forward,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California said.
McCarthy said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, is hoping the relief package back.
“Her own members, the Democrats, have asked her to take this deal,” he said.