The day after winning his re-election bid for a seventh term, Kentucky Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said Congress should pass an economic stimulus bill before the end of the year and called it “Job One” when the Senate meets again on November 6.
“Hopefully the partisan passions that have prevented us from passing another bailout package will fade with the election. I think we have to do it before the end of the year. Hopefully we will get a more cooperative situation than we have had so far,” McConnell told CNBC.
This week, Republican Senator of Missouri Roy Blunt, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, told the Washington Post at a virtual event that he hoped Congress could pass a bailout package before January.
McConnell reportedly said he was open to a package with more state and local funding – a sticking point that Democrats have long sought in the stalled negotiations. A new package could be passed by December 11, the next deadline for federal spending, to avoid government closure.
Before the election, however, McConnell baulked at a $2 trillion deal that Democratic House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi had worked out with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, saying it contained “all sorts of things … that simply have nothing to do with the issue.
Pelosi had described the Republican stimulus proposals before the election as “not even close to good” and mentioned their lack of improved federal unemployment benefits, state and local assistance, childcare and personal protective equipment for medical personnel on the front lines of the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic.
McConnell made a counteroffer for a $500 million bill, which he said focused on schools and replenishing the Paycheck Protection Program, but lacked the above-mentioned funds that the Democrats are seeking.
Had the Democrats won control of the Senate on election night, they could have possibly waited until the Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden, was in the Senate to pass an economic stimulus package that included their goals.
However, the Democrats will have to win two runoff elections in Georgia to gain control of the Senate. If this is not the case, then differences of opinion between a Democratic House and the Republican Senate could lead to the ongoing negotiations taking even longer.
In addition, Trump’s plan to challenge the election results all the way to the Supreme Court could bring the negotiations between Democrats and Republicans on incentives to a complete standstill.
“Any uncertainty about the outcome of the election virtually guarantees that no deal will be struck in the lame duck,” Ed Mills, a Washington policy analyst at investment banking firm Raymond James told CNBC. “When we fight over the election, there is no way to compromise on tax support”.
Washington Newsday contacted McConnell’s office for a comment….