Top Senate Democrats are slamming GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell’s approximately $650 billion COVID relief proposal, a bill that’s one-third the size of the measure that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin have been negotiating this week.
Watch Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s press conference about the relief proposal in the player above.
The Senate GOP bill has failed once before, and President Donald Trump himself says it’s too small.
“When the American people are suffering to put this political stunt on the floor a second time is cruel, is harsh,” said Schumer.
“And it shows in complete lack of leadership and caring for the suffering of the American people,” Schumer said.
Pelosi negotiated with Mnuchin for nearly an hour on Monday, and her office said they are continuing to narrow their differences – though the progress may be coming too late to immediately deliver on jobless aid, a second round of $1,200 direct payments, and money for schools, testing, and vaccines.
Another Pelosi-Mnuchin phone call was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
Aides familiar with the talks say the price tag for a potential Pelosi-Mnuchin deal is inching close to $2 trillion, though numerous policy differences remain unresolved.
Senate Republicans are recoiling at both the size of the measure and Pelosi’s demands, even as Trump is beating the drums for an agreement.
“If we want parents to feel confident that their children can go back to school safely, if we want people to feel they can open their businesses safely and get back to work, Republicans can’t leave millions of people behind, Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan said.
But Republicans have spent months talking about a smaller aid package and the top GOP vote-counter, Sen. John Thune, said Monday that “it would be hard” to find the necessary Republican support for passage of any agreement in that range.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, has been pushing ahead with votes this week on GOP measures that stand little chance of advancing.
Without an agreement at least in principle by Tuesday, Pelosi says it’ll be too late to enact anything by Election Day. And if history is any guide, prospects for a deal in the lame-duck session after the election could be dim