Stimulus negotiation dated: McConnell announces he will vote on small business loan bill
McConnell, speaking in Kentucky on Tuesday, said the GOP proposal will include P3 funds, liability protections and funds for schools and hospitals. The key elements would roughly match previous GOP proposals that were rejected, with that proposal totaling around $ 500 billion, McConnell said. Democrats have rejected the GOP’s scaled-down proposals so far.
“So far, they’ve said if we can’t do whatever we want, we won’t do anything,” McConnell said of Democrats. “It does not solve the problem.”
The stakes cannot be overstated. Unemployment remains high, small businesses across the country are facing an epidemic of closures and the out-of-pocket payments and improved unemployment insurance that have helped families and individuals float through the economic shutdowns created by the pandemic are no longer in effect. The expected outcome, economists say, could be devastating if Congress and the Trump administration fail to come to an agreement.
But despite the urgency expressed across the country, negotiations have only seemed to stray from a resolution in recent days – and much more muddled. While President Donald Trump gave a momentary boost to the prospects for a deal last week when he called for a “big” deal and offered a $ 1.8 trillion offer, the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has dismissed the effort as insufficient on several major fronts and the talks are once again stuck with no clear path forward.
Senate Republicans, in a private conference call over the weekend, tore up the Trump administration’s proposal as far too expensive and filled with policies they found reprehensible, sources told CNN at the time. of the call. The flashback led Trump’s two main negotiators, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, to call on lawmakers to pass a stand-alone small business aid bill .
Yet just minutes after McConnell announced that was exactly what Senate Republicans were planning to do, Trump tweeted: “STIMULUS! Go big or go home !!!”
Sen. Richard Durbin, the second Senate Democrat, tweaked Republicans on the clear divergence in approaches when asked about McConnell’s new effort.
“What I hear from Senator McConnell is once again take a little bite and be satisfied,” Durbin told reporters during a break in the Supreme Court nomination hearing before the Judiciary Committee. “What I’m hearing from the president is the opposite. Can the two of them sit down and come to an agreement? Wouldn’t that be a breakthrough?”
PPP enjoys bipartisan support and has received broad support for replenishment and an extension of its timeline in the past. But the other likely elements of the GOP’s new proposal – most notably the liability protections – have encountered objections from Democrats and, more generally, the idea of going ahead on anything lower. at $ 2 trillion has been seen as a non-starter until this day. point. Democrats, if they stick to the strategy they have used so far, are likely to block the effort.
Democratic leaders have repeatedly rejected piecemeal approaches to the next relief effort, including a roughly $ 300 billion Senate GOP relief bill, which Democrats voted unanimously last month . Instead, they insisted on a broad and comprehensive response to the dual economic and public health problem facing the country.
Pelosi, in a conference call with House Democrats on Tuesday, made it clear that she was unwilling to accept proposals she felt were insufficient, according to two people on the call.
“We can’t get a deal just by folding,” Pelosi told his members, People said.
The broader negotiations stalled for months. While President Donald Trump gave a momentary boost to the prospects for a deal last week when he called for a “big” deal and offered a $ 1.8 trillion offer, Pelosi rejected the deal. effort as being insufficient on several major fronts and talks are once again stalled. without a clear path forward.
Pelosi, in a letter to his fellow House Democrats on Tuesday, listed a myriad of significant issues with the Trump administration’s latest proposal.
The California Democrat has identified eight key areas where tangible differences exist between the two sides, and the issues largely reflect divisions between the two sides that have been around for more than three months.
Pelosi also clarified that these eight areas “are not exhaustive of our many outstanding concerns.”
“Significant changes must be made to address flaws in the Trump proposal,” Pelosi wrote to colleagues
The Senate GOP decision, which collaborators say had been under discussion for several days, follows a written request to lawmakers in Mnuchin and Meadows to hold a vote to bring the small business agenda back online. The PPP was designed to fill closures caused by the pandemic and help companies keep their employees in their jobs – and in turn, the loans taken out would be canceled, essentially turning into a grant. It ended with about $ 130 billion in unspent funds.
It also provides another opportunity for Senate Republicans at risk of losing their seats in November to vote on more relief – something several frontline Republicans have repeatedly urged McConnell and their colleagues to move forward. these last months.
This story was updated with additional developments on Tuesday.