Mitch McConnell is still playing hardball on coronavirus relief

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Kathryn Krawczyk
·2 min read
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It's been four months since Congress' coronavirus relief bill expired, and the Senate and House still seem no closer to agreeing on a new one.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and the White House have debated for months over what to include in the next stimulus package, with Senate Republicans seeking a far smaller bill than Democrats. But McConnell said Monday that some Democrats are now willing to accept "half a loaf" rather than delay relief any longer, pushing the onus on Pelosi to bring a smaller package to the House.

House Democrats passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill months ago, while Senate Republicans have refused to accept a price tag anywhere close to that. But McConnell said Monday that "there is no reason" Congress shouldn't pass something by the end of the year, especially since some Democrats seem willing to accept Republicans' slimmer proposals; Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), for example, said Monday that "both sides are going to have to compromise."

Pelosi also doesn't have quite the negotiating power she had before the 2020 election given that Democrats ended up losing seats in the House, McConnell added. He failed to acknowledge that President-elect Joe Biden will be bringing his Democratic administration to the White House in less than two months.

While boosted unemployment insurance expired with the CARES Act at the end of July, unemployment benefits for some Americans may disappear altogether if a new bill isn't passed soon. Federal unemployment programs for people who aren't covered by traditional jobless benefits, as well as extended benefits for those who have exhausted state unemployment, are set to expire at the end of the year, along with an eviction moratorium and other provisions.

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