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Politics McConnell to force vote on 'targeted' coronavirus relief bill next week

19:05  13 october  2020
19:05  13 october  2020 Source:   thehill.com

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that the Senate will vote on a "targeted" coronavirus relief bill next week that will include more aid for small businesses hit hard by the fallout of the pandemic.

a man wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: McConnell to force vote on 'targeted' coronavirus relief bill next week © Getty Images McConnell to force vote on 'targeted' coronavirus relief bill next week

The Senate is out of town this week after an outbreak of the coronavirus among its members but will return to Washington, D.C., on Monday.

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"When the full Senate returns on October 19th, our first order of business will be voting again on targeted relief for American workers, including new funding for the PPP," McConnell said in a statement, referring to the Paycheck Protection Program.

The GOP leader gave no hints about what would be in the forthcoming Republican plan beyond the small-business funding. But McConnell has previously pointed to other areas, including protection from coronavirus-related lawsuits and money for schools and testing, as other must-have items in a potential bill.

McConnell's decision to offer his own bill comes as several of his vulnerable incumbents have shown they are eager to make progress on stimulus legislation.

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Senate Republicans panned the latest $1.8 trillion offer from the White House, which was made as part of negotiations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

President Trump doubled down on a higher price tag for any agreement, tweeting on Tuesday: "STIMULUS! Go big or go home!!!"

Republicans initially offered a $1.1 trillion coronavirus package in July, but McConnell warned at the time that it could garner up to 20 "no" votes and was never given a vote on the Senate floor. Fifty-two GOP senators then voted for an approximately $500 billion bill, but it was blocked by Democrats.

McConnell was quizzed on the coronavirus relief negotiations during a debate with Democratic opponent Amy McGrath on Monday night where he blamed Democrats for the inability to get a deal on a sweeping package that would offer aid to Americans and businesses.

Pelosi has "been demanding we throw $3 trillion at this problem in a way that is largely in many respects unrelated to solving the problem," McConnell said during the debate, adding that Pelosi "has been totally unreasonable and not interested in getting an outcome."

On The Money: Pelosi, citing 'leverage' over Trump, holds strong to $2.2T in COVID-19 aid | McConnell to force vote on 'targeted' relief bill next week | Trump again asks court to shield tax records

  On The Money: Pelosi, citing 'leverage' over Trump, holds strong to $2.2T in COVID-19 aid | McConnell to force vote on 'targeted' relief bill next week | Trump again asks court to shield tax records Happy Tuesday and welcome back to On The Money. I'm Sylvan Lane, and here's your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.See something I missed? Let me know at slane@thehill.com or tweet me @SylvanLane. And if you like your newsletter, you can subscribe to it here: http://bit.ly/1NxxW2N.Write us with tips, suggestions and news: slane@thehill.com, njagoda@thehill.com and nelis@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @SylvanLane, @NJagoda and @NivElis.THE BIG DEAL-Pelosi, citing 'leverage' over Trump, holds strong to $2.2T in COVID-19 aid: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday shot down entreaties from some Democrats to cut a $1.

McConnell had been skeptical that there would be a deal on coronavirus relief before the Nov. 3 elections, and warned in Kentucky last week that the chamber's first "priority" would be confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

But he said on Tuesday that he believes there is time to squeeze in the coronavirus bill before turning to Barrett's nomination on the floor during the final week of October.

"Unless Democrats block this aid for workers, we will have time to pass it before we proceed as planned to the pending Supreme Court nomination as soon as it is reported by the Judiciary Committee," McConnell said.

"Republicans do not agree that nothing is better than something for working families. The American people need Democrats to stop blocking bipartisan funding and let us replenish the PPP before more Americans lose their jobs needlessly," McConnell added.

McConnell's statement comes after Pelosi sent a letter to her colleagues on Tuesday outlining several areas where the White House's latest proposal fell short, including money for state and local governments, help for small businesses and testing.

"This weekend, the Administration issued a proposal that amounted to one step forward, two steps back. In fact, in some instances, it makes matters worse," Pelosi wrote.

Pelosi added that several House committee chairs released statements "expressing their concerns about the inadequacy of the Trump proposal."

Amid GOP divisions, McConnell sets stage for showdown stimulus vote with Democrats .
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday he would force his chamber to cast a test vote this week on a new version of his party's economic recovery plan, putting pressure on Republicans to get behind a measure meant to serve as an election-year contrast with Democrats. © Alex Wong/Getty Images Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wears a mask as he walks through a hallway at the U.S. Capitol May 11, 2020 in Washington, DC.

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