A new coronavirus stimulus bill must be introduced at the start of 2021, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated on Friday, not in a post-election outgoing meeting of congress as other lawmakers had expected would occur since pre-election negotiations failed.
"We probably need to do another package, certainly more modest than the $3 trillion Nancy Pelosi package," said McConnell at Hugh Hewitt's radio station. "I think that'll be something we'll need to do right at the beginning of the year," he added.
McConnell's statements suggest that before returning to the stimulus bill debate again, he intends to wait much longer. The Senate Republicans McConnell leads have also been profoundly split by how much to spend on a new bill, as GOP legislators have scoffed at plans, which have a price tag of almost $2 trillion.
"I think we need to make a careful, calculated decision about what more to do to deal with this Coronavirus. We're throwing money at the search for a vaccine, which is the wise thing to do," added McConnell a while later, "We could target it particularly at small businesses that are struggling, and hospitals that are now dealing with the second wave of the Coronavirus, and of course the challenges for education, both K-12 and college."
This decision on the stimulus bill could defer for weeks the much-needed aid for the affected Americans and small companies who have been eager to see more assistance authorized quickly and to delay the COVID-19's economic effects.
The absence of an agreement has rendered millions of Americans without sufficient unemployment insurance, and cash has long dried out to support small businesses, including companies waiting for Washington funds to react to the COVID-19 pandemic and its severe economic consequences.
Stimulus bill negotiations between both the administration and Congressional Democrats, headed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have been treading water over a further stimulus bill for months, and representatives of both sides have held out hope that getting through the election will eliminate some of the intense interventions they feel have hindered the parties from achieving an agreement.
A vote not to pass a bill in the lame-duck seems to be something McConnell will manage in his chamber before January as majority leader, even though Republicans lost majority control in the election campaigns this week.
Pelosi stated earlier Friday morning that she was "still hopeful" that the Democrats might agree with the Trump administration on the stimulus bill, although she acknowledged that there are so many vast areas of disagreement.
Pelosi reportedly said to a news outlet: "So we have a major difference of opinion. I was hoping that we could reconcile them. I still am hopeful that we will."
The statement from Pelosi came the day after her disagreements with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the chief White House negotiator, burst into the general public. In their highest-profile confrontation so far, Mnuchin blasted Pelosi on Thursday afternoon, claiming the speaker is refusing to cooperate to get much-needed support for Americans.