Politics McConnell Says Any Deal on Stimulus Unlikely Before Election
Mitch McConnell’s legacy is a conservative Supreme Court shaped by his calculated audacity
How an uncharismatic Kentucky lawyer came to rule the Senate and remake the federal judiciary from top to bottom . The impact of that achievement will outlive the 78-year-old Kentuckian, making it the biggest piece of his large legacy in Senate history. This feat could hardly have been predicted when Senate Republicans elected McConnell their leader in 2006. For most of the 40-plus years I have watched McConnell, first as a reporter covering Kentucky politics and now as a journalism professor focused on rural issues, he seemed to have no great ambition or goals, other than gaining power and keeping it.
(Bloomberg) -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the differences are likely too big and the time is too short for Congress to agree on a new comprehensive stimulus package before the election, despite President Donald Trump’s renewed interest in striking a deal.
“I believe that we do need another rescue package, but the proximity to the elections and the differences of opinion about what is needed are pretty vast,” McConnell said at an event in his home state of Kentucky.
The Relief Deal Blowup: What are Pelosi and Trump Thinking?
It’s not just the president’s wild back-and-forth on Twitter. Both sides are looking irrational on a deal that the economy is going to need soon.The Republican message for 2020 is also that this is the most important election in history, but that the future of America depends on Trump’s victory, that the alternative would be socialism, rioting, the end of religion, the end of the suburbs, and an economic disaster. Yet Republicans in Congress have resisted a huge stimulus bill to prevent that disaster, and on Tuesday Trump suddenly ordered his aides to stop trying to negotiate any bill until after the election.
He also said that while both sides agree on the need for aid to U.S. airlines, that too is unlikely to happen in the next three weeks.
Mitch McConnell departs a television interview in the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., U.S. on Oct. 6.
Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg
After announcing Tuesday he was ending negotiations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Trump shifted direction on Thursday and signaled that the administration is again leaning toward a large-scale stimulus bill. But McConnell’s remarks suggest Senate Republicans may be as big an obstacle to a deal as Pelosi.
Mitch McConnell says an economic stimulus package is 'unlikely in the next 3 weeks' as the White House renews its push for aid
McConnell said a coronavirus aid package was needed, but added "everybody is kind of trying to elbow for political advantage.""I think the murkiness is a result of the proximity to the election, and everybody kind of trying to elbow for political advantage" he said during a campaign event in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. "I'd like to see us rise above that ... but I think that's unlikely in the next three weeks.
McConnell has said that there are members of his GOP majority who think the government has already provided enough stimulus.
Pelosi and Democrats are pursuing a $2.2 trillion boost to the economy. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has countered with a proposal for about $1.6 trillion. But McConnell highlighted the “narrowly targeted” GOP package of about a half-trillion dollars that Democrats blocked as insufficient.
Mnuchin told Pelosi in a 40-minute call Thursday that Trump wants agreement on a comprehensive stimulus package, according to Drew Hammill, a Pelosi spokesman.
White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said the administration has “made very clear we want a skinny package,” though she said later that the White House was “open to going with something bigger.” She reiterated opposition to the $2.2 trillion plan from House Democrats.
The signals from the White House on a stimulus have helped push the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 higher.
White House sends mixed signals on stimulus as Pelosi announces opposition to latest White House proposal
On Sunday, Pelosi told House Democrats, "we remain at an impasse" on stimulus negotiations.In a letter to House Democrats sent Saturday, Pelosi called the administration's proposal presented on Friday "one step forward, two steps back" in their negotiations but said she would "remain hopeful" both sides could come to a deal.
Nancy Pelosi at the Russell Senate Office Building on Oct. 8.
Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg
But there has been plenty of doubt in Washington about reaching a deal. Along with McConnell’s remark, Pelosi sent a letter to House Democrats Friday morning saying the differences are philosophical as well as fiscal.
“The Administration does not share this priority of crushing the virus. The President does not have the capacity, leadership or plan for testing, tracing, and isolation that is needed,” Pelosi wrote. “Instead, Trump’s delay, denial, distortion of reality and disdain for science has exacted a deadly and preventable human toll.”
The negotiations are proceeding against a frenzied backdrop, with the president recuperating from Covid-19 and the final stretch of the election campaign under way. Pelosi and Trump publicly questioned each other’s ability to perform their jobs on Thursday.
The House speaker said Thursday there could be no action on a stand-alone bill to aid airlines or any other sector of the economy without an agreement with the White House and Republicans on a broader stimulus package.
Pelosi said airline aid could move through Congress before a comprehensive deal is voted on -- but that would have to be advanced in the “context” of a broader bill. “I have made the case to my colleagues that this is a special case,” Pelosi said on Bloomberg TV.
“There is no stand-alone bill without a bigger bill,” she said. Pelosi has also said this week she is pressing for language that would limit Trump’s ability to divert virus testing and treatment funds to other projects.
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One of Kentucky's largest newspapers endorsed Mitch McConnell challenger Amy McGrath .
"McConnell purports to care about Kentucky and the country, but time and again, he has chosen the GOP instead," Lexington Herald-Leader's editorial board said."That choice is Amy McGrath, a Democrat challenging longtime incumbent and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell," the paper's editorial board wrote in an op-ed. "During his 36 years in office, McConnell has made it perfectly clear that his only passion is the pursuit of power, his own and that of the Republican Party. For that reason alone, we would endorse his opponent.