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McConnell says he’ll support stimulus deal if it’s backed by Trump

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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.

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White House Confirms It Is Looking Into Shutting Down Oil Pipeline Amid Fuel Crisis

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Gas Pipeline

The Biden administration confirmed that it is considering shutting down an oil pipeline in Michigan despite the ongoing fuel crisis in the country.

“Revoking the permits for the [Line 5] pipeline that delivers oil from western Canada across Wisconsin, the Great Lakes and Michigan and into Ontario, would please environmentalists who have urged the White House to block fossil fuel infrastructure, but it would aggravate a rift with Canada and could exacerbate a spike in energy prices that Republicans are already using as a political weapon,” Politico Pro reported. “Killing a pipeline while U.S. gasoline prices are the highest in years could be political poison for Biden, who has seen his approval rating crash in recent months.”

Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked about the report during Monday’s press briefing, asking, “why is the administration now considering shutting down the Line 5 pipeline from Canada to Michigan?”

“So, Peter, that is inaccurate,” Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed. “That is not right. So, any reporting indicating that some decision has been made, again, is not accurate. … So, again, I would — it is inaccurate what you just stated, but —”

“What’s inaccurate?” Doocy asked.

“The reporting about us wanting to shut down the Line 5,” Jean-Pierre said.

“I didn’t say ‘wanting.’  I said, is it being studied right now?  Is the administration studying the impact of shutting down the Line 5?”

“Yeah. Yes, we are. We are,” Jean-Pierre admitted.

 

The news comes as gas prices have reached their highest since 2014, when Biden was vice president, and are currently about 50% higher than they were when Biden entered office.

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