McConnell Opens Door to Smaller Coronavirus Relief Settlement

Leader of the Senate majority Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell Pelosi snuggles up to presidents on surprise billing, but elusive McConnell deal opens door to smaller coronavirus relief deal Republican Party seeks ‘Plan B’ as coronavirus talks hit the MORE wall (R-Ky.) Wednesday seemed to open the door to a smaller coronavirus relief package than the proposal put forward by Republicans earlier this week.

McConnell, asked about unemployment benefits due soon, said neither side wants them to expire, which is slated to formally happen on Friday.

“A lot of things around here happen at the last minute. This is only Wednesday, so hope is eternal and we will come to some kind of agreement, either broadly or narrowly, to avoid having an adverse impact on unemployment.” McConnell said. said “PBS NewsHour”.

When asked if he was seriously considering a smaller invoice or a short-term option, he added: “We are looking at all the options.”

McConnell’s comments, the first time he appeared open to a smaller bill, come as top Trump administration officials and a growing number of Republican lawmakers have signaled his openness to a reduced settlement, as the talks with Democrats they have made little progress.

What would be included in a smaller deal has not been agreed, and Republican senators say countless ideas are being discussed as they try to break the deadlock.

Some Republicans have cast an independent vote on a short-term extension of unemployment benefits, but the White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsMcConnell Opens Door To Smaller Coronavirus Relief Deal Republican Party Seeks ‘Plan B’ As Coronavirus Talks Hit Wall In Money: Meadows says benefits will expire as negotiators scramble to reach a agreement | Trump launches short-term pact | Fed keeps rates close to zero as the economy faces a coronavirus hit MORE It seemed to topple that, saying it had been scrapped by Democrats and that the enhanced benefits will expire Friday.

Under the March coronavirus deal, Congress agreed to a $ 600 per week increase in unemployment benefits. As drafted, the upgrade will formally expire on Friday, but due to the schedule and the way states distribute benefits, they began to expire on Saturday.

Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinMcConnell Opens Door to Smaller Coronavirus Relief Deal Republican Party Seeks ‘Plan B’ As Coronavirus Talks Hit Wall On The Money: Meadows Says Benefits Will Expire As Negotiators Strive To Reach A agreement | Trump launches short-term pact | Fed keeps rates close to zero as the economy faces a coronavirus hit MORE They have met every day this week with the Speaker of the House Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse The Republican Party Steering Committee selects four members for new committee positions. Pelosi Meets Presidents for Surprising Billing, But Tries to Dodge Hillicon Valley: House Panel Questions Tech CEOs During Long-Antitrust Hearing | TikTok will make the code public as it rejects ‘disinformation’ | Intel home panel expands access to foreign disinformation evidence MORE (D-Calif.) And minority leader of the Senate Charles SchumerChuck SchumerLincoln Project Targets Senate Races In Alaska, Maine, Montana With M ad Buying Pelosi, Schumer Says Republican Senate Coronavirus Bill Is ‘Selling To Working Families’ 12:30 Report From The Hill – Presented by Facebook – Barr Showdown with House Democrats MORE (DN.Y.) to try to reach an agreement. But after their last meeting on Wednesday, they were frank about the lack of progress so far.

“We are still miles apart on a number of issues,” said Meadows. “In fact, I would say there are more problems where we are separate than where we are closer to consensus.”

With that in mind, Mnuchin said: President TrumpDonald John Trump Governor Approval Rates Drop As COVID-19 Cases Rise Gohmert Says He Will Take Hydroxychloroquine As Treatment For Virginia Governor COVID-19, Senators Seek CDC Help With Coronavirus Outbreak In Center immigration detention MORE it continues to push for a short-term extension of the improved unemployment benefits along with some form of assistance to tenants who would otherwise face eviction threats.

“The president wants us to focus more on this issue of rising unemployment,” said Mnuchin.

Mnuchin also pointed to the Paycheck Protection Program, school funding, tax withholding credits, rental assistance, and a bipartisan proposal that provides $ 10 billion to community development banks as areas where a deal seems likely.

Meadows and Mnuchin also noted that the areas where they remain widely separated include liability protections for businesses and a new round of funding for state and local governments.

“We are still very far apart on many issues,” said Mnuchin. “I think there is a subset of issues that we do agree on, but overall we are far from reaching an agreement.”

Mike Lillis contributed.