House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may be optimistic that a stimulus relief bill will be approved by Election Day, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell casts doubt on that hope. Speaking at a closed-door lunch on Tuesday, as it was revealed that Pelosi and Mnuchin had "moved closer to an agreement," McConnell reportedly indicated that any potential agreed-upon bill would be unlikely to reach the Senate floor for a vote by Election Day on Nov. 3.
According to multiple sources, and as reported by CNN, McConnell expressed concerns with the logistics of a vote with the November election now just two weeks away. The majority leader allegedly said that "given all the legislative hurdles that need to be overcome, and as Republican senators are eager to campaign," it would be difficult to get the bill approved so quickly. Multiple sources also claimed that McConnell warned the White House against making a deal before Election Day.
Pelosi and Mnuchin have long hoped to reach an agreement as quickly as possible to allow a bill to move through Congress and be signed by President Donald Trump by Nov. 3, and in recent days, they have made a final push to make this possible. Although once divided to a point where discussions were at "a tragic impasse," the two sides have since managed to bridge many of those divisions. While they remain divided on several provisions – funding for state and local governments, jobless benefits, funding for schools, liability protections for businesses, etc. – have made great strides in other respects.
Following a 45-minute phone conversation Tuesday afternoon, Pelosi's deputy chief of staff even said that "more clarity and common ground" have been provided, and the two had moved "closer to an agreement." Part of this progress is because the White House has jumped up on the price tag, with a new bill said to be in the ballpark of $1.8 trillion to $2.2 trillion. This, however, could prove to be a stopping point for some Republicans.
As CNN points out, most Republican senators are pushing back against this alleged amount, as they have instead long supported a slimmer bill at or below $1 trillion. McConnell, who is currently planning a Senate vote on a $500 billion proposal, has himself not stated if he is comfortable with a larger price tag. He has, however, indicated that he would bring Pelosi and Mnuchin's bill up for a vote, though he has so far refrained from stating if that vote would occur before or after the election. It remains uncertain if the bill would have the 60 votes it would need to advance in the Republican-controlled chamber.