Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says that he’s scheduling a vote regarding a GOP COVID-19 relief bill for later this month
WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he’s scheduling a vote regarding a GOP COVID-19 relief bill for later this month, saying aid to hard-hit businesses shouldn’t be held up by gridlock involving other aid proposals.
The Kentucky Republican says the first item of Senate business when the chamber returns Oct. 19 will be a procedural vote on a scaled-back aid bill. Democrats filibustered a GOP-drafted aid bill last month and recent talks on a larger deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., fell apart this past weekend, probably for good.
“Democrats have spent months blocking policies they do not even oppose. They say anything short of their multi-trillion-dollar wish list, jammed with non-COVID-related demands, is ‘piecemeal’ and not worth doing,” McConnell said in a statement. “And she has worked hard to ensure that nothing is what American families get.”
Under Senate rules, McConnell can call for a re-vote on the September legislation, which was filibustered by Democrats as insufficient. It also doesn’t satisfy Trump, in part because it did not provide for another round of $1,200 direct payments that would go out under his name.
McConnell could also modify the earlier GOP bill.
For her part, Pelosi issued a statement again criticizing Trump for caring chiefly about the direct payments.
“A fly on the wall or wherever else it might land in the Oval Office tells me that the President only wants his name on a check to go out before Election Day and for the market to go up,” Pelosi said in a letter to her colleagues.
To recap, talks on the latest potential round of COVID relief began in July, collapsed in August, and were revived last month. Last week alone saw Trump cause the talks to collapse on Tuesday, only to revive them come heading into the weekend. They then cratered again on Saturday after Trump’s latest $1.8 trillion proposal took heavy fire from both Democrats and Trump’s GOP allies.
Republicans are back to offering smaller, targeted aid that would permit endangered party members to again go on record in favor of aid, even if it’s a nonstarter with Democrats.