McConnell breaks from White House-Democratic negotiations, unveils separate bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced he will release a separate stimulus proposal worth

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced he will release a separate stimulus proposal worth $500 billion, significantly lower than the deal Democrats and the White House are negotiating.

“We’re going to go back on the floor next week, again, with a proposal more narrowly targeted,” McConnell said at an event in Kentucky on Tuesday. “I want to give my friends on the other side one more chance to do highly-targeted relief that the country desperately needs.”

The new proposal includes funding for the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), extra unemployment benefits, money for schools, and liability protections for businesses. McConnell is expected to put the proposal for a vote after the Senate returns on October 19.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 20: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (L) listens to U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters while hosting Republican congressional leaders and members of Trump's cabinet in the Oval Office at the White House July 20, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump and the congressional leaders talked about a proposed new round of financial stimulus to help the economy during the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (L) listens to U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters while hosting Republican congressional leaders and members of Trump’s cabinet in the Oval Office at the White House July 20, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

Soon after McConnell made his comments on the new targeted proposal, the president reiterated his support for a larger stimulus deal, tweeting “STIMULUS! Go big or go home!!!” on Tuesday.

The White House’s latest proposal is around $1.8 trillion, up from $1.6 trillion, and closer to the price tag of the Democrats’ latest $2.2 trillion stimulus proposal that passed the House in September.

McConnell’s new proposal has similar provisions to the one the GOP released in early September, which was worth $650 billion, but only $300 billion of that was new spending with the rest being repurposed money. The previous package was rejected in the Senate.

At least 38 states have paid out all their funds available under the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program. (David Foster/Yahoo Finance)
At least 41 states have paid out all their funds available under the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program. (David Foster/Yahoo Finance)

‘We cannot get an agreement just by folding’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who has been actively negotiating a new stimulus package with the White House, said that the latest offer by the administration falls short, but she still is hopeful for a deal.

Read more: Here’s what you need to know about unemployment benefits eligibility

Sticking points for any deal between the White House and Democrats include aid for state and local governments, funding for schools, workers’ protections and child care support, rental assistance, funding for increased testing and tracing as well as funding for small businesses, elections, and the census.

“We really need to have an agreement, but we cannot have an agreement by just folding,” Pelosi said on a conference call with House Democrats on Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported. “I don’t think our leverage has ever been greater than it is now.”

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9, 2020 -- U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Oct. 9, 2020. U.S. President Donald Trump has approved a revised COVID-19 relief package in the negotiations with congressional Democrats, White House's National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said Friday. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is expected to discuss a new 1.8-trillion-U.S.-dollar relief proposal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when the two speak Friday afternoon, according to The Wall Street Journal. (Photo by Ting Shen/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/T IngShen/liujie via Getty Images)
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Oct. 9, 2020. (Xinhua/T IngShen/liujie via Getty Images)

Any deal reached by Democrats and the White House would likely face stiff opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate, where it would need 60 votes to pass.

In early August, McConnell said that the GOP would go along with any deal made between the White House and Democratic lawmakers — but that no longer seems to be the case.

“Republicans do not agree that nothing is better than something for working families,” McConnell said in a statement on Tuesday. “The American people need Democrats to stop blocking bipartisan funding and let us replenish the PPP before more Americans lose their jobs needlessly.”

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Denitsa is a writer for Yahoo Finance and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @denitsa_tsekova.

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