McConnell Says Senate Will Delay Recess To Negotiate, But Some GOP Leaders Don’t Think A Deal Is Coming
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told CNN Wednesday that the Senate will “certainly” be in session next week; top policymakers in Washington have been racing to finalize new coronavirus stimulus legislation before an August break that was originally scheduled to begin Friday.
On Tuesday, Democratic and White House negotiators agreed that they would aim for a deal on the new bill by Friday so a vote in Congress could be scheduled for the following week.
McConnell only has authority to keep Senators in Washington to keep working on the bill—it’s not yet clear if he has made an official request to do so.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-Calif.) has said she will also keep members of the House of Representatives in Washington until a deal is reached: “we can’t go home without it,” she said last month.
Both chambers of Congress must sign off on any new legislation before President Trump can sign it into law.
McConnell himself has not been present at the negotiating table with White House officials and top Democrats amid bitter infighting among members of the GOP, though CNN notes that his opinion is still “extremely important” in the negotiations.
Lawmakers are inching closer to agreement on several key points, including enhanced federal unemployment benefits and an eviction moratorium for certain renters (though none of the proposals on the table have been accepted yet), but deep divisions still remain.
Despite the deadline, a Friday deal is not guaranteed: talks in Washington have been slow-going, and it’s unclear whether the White House—represented by chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin—will be able to come to an agreement with top Democrats. Some GOP representatives are not optimistic about the prospects of a deal coming in the next two days. “I’ve become extremely doubtful that we will be able to make a deal if it goes well beyond Friday,” Meadows said Wednesday, according to Reuters. “Just because we’ve been spending so much time together, if you’re not making progress, there’s no sense to continue.” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) took a similar position: “If there’s not a deal by Friday, there won’t be a deal.” Pelosi, on the other hand, told MSNBC Wednesday that the timing will “relate to the progress we make” in negotiations.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) criticized Senate Republicans for being “ready to give up” after one week of negotiation with Democrats and the White House.
Second Stimulus: Here’s What It Looks Like It Will Include (Forbes)
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WH Chief Of Staff ‘Not Optimistic’ About Coronavirus Stimulus Deal ‘In The Very Near Term’ (Forbes)