Will a ‘highly targeted’ coronavirus relief bill get voted on next week?

October 13, 2020

    Americans continue to hold out for a second round of coronavirus relief.

    And while lawmakers on both sides of the aisles have yet to come to an agreement, there is new hope that a new stimulus package may be on its way to a vote.

    On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled that the Senate would vote on a “highly targeted” bill next week.

    “When the full Senate returns on October 19th, our first order of business will be voting again on targeted relief for American workers, including new funding for the PPP," McConnell said according to The Hill.

    McConnell adjourned the full Senate for two weeks after President Trump and three Republican Senators contracted COVID-19.

    After making his initial statement, McConnell elaborated at an event in Kentucky and disclosed the bill will include money for schools, hospitals,  liability protections for businesses, and added unemployment benefits.

    "I made some news today. We're going to go back to the floor next week again with a proposal more narrowly targeted with a significant amount of money. I can remember when a half a trillion dollars ... was real money," McConnell said, per the outlet. "I want to give our friends on the other side one more chance to do highly targeted relief that the country desperately needs.”

    On Friday, both Republicans and Democrats rebuked a $1.8 trillion package by the White House.

    The proposal put forth by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin included $300 billion in aid for state and local governments; direct stimulus payments of up to $1,200 for adults and $400 per week in federal unemployment aid, reported Fox Business.

    In a letter to colleagues, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi outlined reasons why the White House proposal failed short.

    "This weekend, the Administration issued a proposal that amounted to one step forward, two steps back. In fact, in some instances, it makes matters worse," Pelosi wrote. "Tragically, the Trump proposal falls significantly short of what this pandemic and deep recession demand," she added.

    After some Senate Republicans voiced their opposition to another massive spending bill, McConnell now appears on board with the so-called “targeted” package. The bill will still have to pass both the Republican-controlled Senate and Democratic-controlled House.

    All this comes after President Trump showed his support for another relief bill by tweeting, “STIMULUS! Go big or go home!!!”

    Last week, McConnell said a stimulus package was “unlikely in the next three weeks” as he focused on confirming Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett prior to the election on November 3rd.

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