Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks with Democratic challenger Amy McGrath during a debate October 12, 2020 in Lexington, Kentucky.
Michael Clubb | Pool | Getty Images
The Senate will vote on a limited coronavirus stimulus bill this month, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday as lawmakers stumbled in its quest to provide help to Americans ahead of the 2020 election.
In a statement, the Kentucky Republican said the Senate would put the relief measures law into effect after the full chamber returns on October 19. McConnell called the plan "targeted assistance to American workers, including new funding" for small business loans from the Paycheck Protection Program. At an event in Kentucky, he said the bill would also include money for schools, an increase in unemployment insurance and corporate liability coverage.
McConnell said in his statement that the Senate would have enough time to both pass the aid proposal and approve Supreme Court candidate Amy Coney Barrett, "unless the Democrats block this aid to workers." Democrats have been targeting Republicans for the past few days to help push Barrett's nomination while millions of Americans made jobless by the virus outbreak await federal support.
Democrats, who blocked a Republican plan worth around $ 500 billion in the Senate last month, dismissed the latest GOP proposal as insufficient. A spokesman for Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer didn't immediately respond to a request to comment on whether Democrats would support the new Republican law.
McConnell announced plans to vote in hopes of new spending to fuel the health system and the economic crisis. Democrats and the Trump administration failed to strike an aid deal as the US nears election day on November 3rd. Meanwhile, White House and Senate Republicans seem out of sync, which requires the federal response.
"STIMULUS! Go big or go home !!!" President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday shortly after McConnell's detailed plans to vote on tight laws.
Over the weekend, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin offered House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a roughly $ 1.8 trillion plan – roughly $ 400 billion less than the bill passed by House Democrats earlier this month. Pelosi rejected the proposal, suggesting on Tuesday that Trump "just wants his name to be on a check before election day and the (stock) market to rise."
"Over 215,000 Americans have died, nearly 7.8 million have been infected and millions more are still without work or income security and are therefore struggling to get rent and put food on the table," she wrote to the House Democrats. "Tragically, the Trump proposal falls well short of what this pandemic and deep recession require."
For months Pelosi has been campaigning for comprehensive legislation and not for independent laws to regulate certain auxiliary provisions. A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request to comment on Pelosi's criticism.
Mnuchin's most recent offering includes $ 300 billion for state and local governments, $ 400 per week for improved unemployment insurance through January, direct payments of up to $ 1,200 for adults and $ 1,000 per child, and liability coverage for Company news. Among the main differences from the house plan, Democrats have called for more than $ 400 billion for state and community aid, $ 600 per week for additional unemployment benefits, and no protection for businesses.
Pelosi's letter to the Democrats on Tuesday included statements from House committee chairs criticizing what they described as imperfections in the White House's plan. They cited state and local aid, Covid-19 testing, tax credits, rental support, worker protection, childcare, support for electoral systems and the US census.
McConnell will hold another vote on relief as Senate Republicans battle to retain their 53-47 majority. The party is set to defend 23 seats this year and several Democratic challengers have announced staggering fundraising numbers as poll averages show tight competition in key races.
Democrats must move three GOP-held seats to take control of the Senate if Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wins the White House, or four if Trump does.
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