Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had put an end to any pre-election stimulus proposal on October 15, saying he had no plans to bring any package at $1.8 trillion or above.
Mitch McConnell on stimulus package
President Trump claimed to Fox Business' Stuart Varney, just hours before McConnell talked about the stimulus package, that he thought there was a chance that a stimulus deal could pass before the presidential election this November 3, despite the short time frame and the stalled negotiations.
The president had cited mounting pressure on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to secure a deal to help the economic fallout from the pandemic. He said that at some point, Pelosi would give in and sign the deal.
President Trump also acknowledged that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin had not been successful in convincing Pelosi to agree to the deal that the GOP prefers, according to Business Insider.
However, McConnell had explicitly said on October 15 that he would not put an agreement in the range of $1.8 to $2.2 trillion on the Senate floor. Instead, he plans to put a $500 billion proposal on the floor next week, which is one-fourth of what Pelosi and Mnuchin are currently discussing.
When asked about the ongoing negotiations, McConnell acknowledged that they are still underway, but he made clear that he is not going in a different direction.
He was also asked if he was willing to compromise and increase the $500 billion proposal; he said he was not.
No large-scale stimulus deal
McConnell's comments put an end to any possibility of the enactment of a large-scale stimulus deal before the presidential election, something that most on Capitol Hill had accepted was out of reach over the last several days.
Even Mnuchin acknowledged this week that getting something done before the presidential election and executing on that would be difficult, according to Washington Post.
McConnell was willing to move forward with the more targeted coronavirus relief proposal next week, so long as the package will be at $500 billion instead of $1.8 trillion. This budget is too small for millions of unemployed, thousands of small businesses, and schools dependent on the aid.
Pelosi had rejected the $1.8 trillion effort as insufficient on several major fronts, and the talks were again stuck. According to Mnuchin, who talked to CNBC, he discussed the matter with Pelosi over the phone on October 14, and he said he was willing to agree to one of the major outstanding sticking points, which is the national testing.
Mnuchin's agreement to national testing and contact tracing was a surprise to Democrats, who thought that they were still far apart on the major specifics after trading COVID-19 proposals.
President Trump said on October 14 that he instructed Mnuchin to put more than $1.8 trillion offer on the table, but that has not been done yet.
When asked why he had not agreed to the Democrats' $2.2 trillion offer, President Trump said that Pelosi wanted to include "all sorts of goodies." and that she tried to bail out Democrat-run states and cities. The president did not specify the "goodies" that Pelosi had attached to the $2.2 trillion offer.