On Wednesday, United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that Republicans would vote on his new stimulus proposal on Thursday. Since the Senate returned to session on Tuesday, McConnell has been pushing a new "skinny bill," meant to include just the basics of a stimulus program for the American people. He continues to cast Democrats as the biggest obstacle to passing such legislation through their long negotiations.
McConnell announced a new stimulus proposal on Tuesday, when the Senate returned from a month-long recess. He described the bill as a compromise, saying that he hoped to pass it within a week — in time for the House of Representatives to consider it when they return on Monday, Sept. 14. On Wednesday morning, McConnell revealed that the Senate will vote on this plan on Thursday, "to protect workers' paychecks, keep kids safe in school, and win the healthcare fight against the virus."
Republicans will not let Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer kill COVID relief behind closed doors without putting every Senator on the record.
Tomorrow, we'll vote to protect workers' paychecks, keep kids safe in school, and win the healthcare fight against the virus.— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) September 9, 2020
Like his previous announcements, McConnell's tweet was met with accusations of hypocrisy and outrage. Many Americans were furious at McConnell for portraying Democrats in the House as the ones delaying a stimulus check, when he himself ignored the idea altogether for months.
The House passed the HEROES Act in May, calling for another stimulus check, an extension of many CARES Act programs and other coronavirus relief measures. However, McConnell ignored this bill entirely, not bringing it to a vote at all. He even let the Senate go on its usual two-week summer recess in July, then proposed his own stimulus bill, the HEALS Act, at the end of the month, with just three weeks to negotiate before the next recess.
The U.S. Congress could not reach an accord between these two bills, and McConnell is now casting the Democrats as the unreasonable party in those debates. Democrats have compromised on the budget for their bill, lowering the price from over $3 trillion to about $2.2 trillion, but McConnell has only informally agreed to raise his price from $1 trillion to $1.3 trillion.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that this is simply not enough money to meet Americans' needs, and she is "not budging" on her overall price. However, at this point Americans are desperate for more aid — including a stimulus check, unemployment insurance and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Many are also furious at both legislatures for taking their prolonged recesses while workers were in dire straits.
Pelosi is still pushing for her own bill even as the Senate shifts its attention to McConnell's smaller own. Either way, the two parties will need to agree before anything can really be passed.