House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin may be close to striking a relief deal after months of negotiations, but any hope of a stimulus bill being passed before Election Day has now been dashed. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved to adjourn the Senate until Nov. 9, meaning that no vote on a relief bill will be able to be approved by both chambers of Congress until the Senate reconvenes.
The decision to adjourn the Senate came after senators, in a vote of 52-48 that was down party lines, voted to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. In a statement to Business Insider, David Poppe, a representative for McConnell, said there was "nothing to add" to what he described as the majority leader's "extensive remarks on the continued Democrat filibuster on COVID relief in the Senate." A representative for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, referred the outlet to a Saturday statement accusing Republicans of sidelining stimulus relief in favor of pushing through Barrett's confirmation.
"Today, we're going to give the Republican majority in the Senate the opportunity to consider critical legislation that has so far languished in Leader McConnell's legislative graveyard," Schumer said in the statement. "We should be doing that, not rushing through this nomination while people are voting, and want their choice listened to, not the Republican Senate choice."
The fate of a potential agreed-upon bill has long been believed to rest on the Senate and whether or not McConnell would bring the potential bill to the floor for a vote. It had been indicated in mid-September, as Pelosi and Mnuchin suggested they were posed to resume their negotiations, that Senate Republican leaders had expressed a desire to adjourn the senate early to allow senators to return home and hit the campaign trail amid the looming election.
Although the Senate remained in session for several weeks longer, speculation remained regarding whether or not a bill would see the light of day in the senate before Nov. 3. Many Republicans are opposed to such a large bill, which will be in the ballpark of $1.8 to $2.2 trillion, and McConnell, according to reports, had warned the White House against making a deal before Election Day. In mid-October, during a closed-door lunch, he was also said to have expressed concerns with the logistics of a vote before Election Day, stating 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. McConnell has, however, indicated that he would bring a bill to the Senate for a vote, though that vote would now not take place until after the Senate reconvenes on Nov. 9.