Senate to vote on $ 500 billion GOP coronavirus stimulus bill on Wednesday

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) visits his Capitol Hill office in Washington, September 10, 2020.

Joshua Roberts | Reuters

The Senate will vote on a $ 500 billion coronavirus stimulus bill on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Saturday as a broader bipartisan deal remains elusive despite continued talks between the leading Democrats and the Trump administration.

McConnell blamed his opponents across the political aisle for the current stalemate, arguing that the Senate has enough time to pass the GOP stimulus package and uphold Supreme Court candidate Amy Coney Barret if ” the Democrats do not stand in the way of this legislation ”.

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“No one thinks this more than $ 500 billion proposal would solve all the problems forever,” McConnell said in a statement on Saturday. “It would bring huge amounts of additional help to workers and families right now while Washington continues to argue for the rest.”

Democrats accused McConnell of pushing forward Barrett’s confirmation instead of focusing on passing stimulus legislation. Democrats blocked a $ 500 billion Republican plan in the Senate last month and will likely reject the GOP’s latest proposal as insufficient.

The chances of Congress passing further aid ahead of the November 3 presidential election have faded because the Senate GOP plan is more limited than what the Trump administration or the Democrats have proposed.

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The GOP bill will include funding for schools, expanded unemployment benefits and a second round of the paycheck protection program, McConnell said. The Senate will vote on the bill a day after a stand-alone vote on more PPP funds on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin offered Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi a $ 1.8 trillion stimulus deal, about $ 400 billion less than the bill proposed by House Democrats earlier this month.

Pelosi, whose party passed a $ 2.2 trillion relief bill in the House, rejected the White House’s proposal and said it “represented one step forward, two steps back.” . Senate Republicans, on the other hand, oppose the White House package as being too bulky.

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Pelosi and Mnuchin continued their negotiations this week, although they were unable to reach an agreement. Both sides called the talks productive, but said major differences remained.

Congress has not passed new relief legislation in months as the coronavirus worsens in the United States and millions of Americans remain unemployed.

– TBEN’s Jacob Pramuk contributed reporting

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