McConnell says he’ll support stimulus deal if it’s backed by Trump
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) gave the slightest glimmer of hope on Tuesday that a coronavirus economic stimulus package will see the light, saying that he would allow for a deal to be voted on in the Senate if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and President Donald Trump reach an agreement.
“If a presidentially supported bill clears the House at some point, we’ll bring it to the floor,” McConnell stated at a press conference.
(Watch the full press conference here.)
Negotiations for a second coronavirus relief bill have been stalled since the summer, with Democrats and Republicans playing ping-pong with each other on policy specifics and its price tag. Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin have been hashing out this new package deal. The initial relief bill was passed back in the spring.
Whether or not this potential stimulus package will receive a vote before November 3 is uncertain, with McConnell not setting anything in stone. Asked if Senate Republicans would support a bill in the range of $1.8 to $2.2 trillion, McConnell said: “We’d have to see what it was first.”
Casting further uncertainty about a potential deal, other Senate Republicans declined to automatically endorse a potential $1.8 trillion bill and doubted that one of that size could be passed.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Tuesday said: “I think it’s very unlikely that a number of that level would make it through the Senate, and I don’t support something of that level.”
The second-highest-ranked Senate Republican, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), believes that it’ll be challenging to convince enough GOP senators to vote for a bill with that price tag.
“My guess is the leader is going to want to see some evidence that whatever is agreed upon has Republican support to try to convince Republicans over here to be for it,” Thune said.
“Their natural instinct, depending on how big it is and what’s in it, is probably going to be to be against it,” he added.
On Wednesday, the Senate will vote on a separate $500 billion GOP-sponsored COVID-19 relief bill. Additionally, the Senate is set to vote Thursday on whether to confirm of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.