Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday he had seen "hopeful signs" that Congress was entering into a coronavirus stimulus treaty before the end of the year.
"Compromises are within reach. We know where we can agree. We can do this," said the Kentucky Republican in the Senate.
Whether Democrats, who run the House and uphold every bill in the Senate, will accept McConnell's vision of compromise remains to be seen. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., And Senate Minority Chairman Chuck Schumer, D-NY.
Still, the GOP leader rejected the proposal when a bicameral group released it this week. He put forward his own plan of around $ 500 billion.
On Thursday, McConnell called for a deal similar to the one he revealed. It includes loan funding for the paycheck protection program, as well as funding for education and vaccine distribution. Democrats supported all of these provisions.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) holds a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on December 1, 2020 after the Senate Republican Politics lunch in Washington, United States, on December 1, 2020.
Tom Williams | Reuters
However, it does contain a piece that Democrats find toxic: Covid-19 corporate and university liability coverage. Pelosi and Schumer have repeatedly urged state and local state aid and additional federal unemployment benefits, which McConnell's plan does not include.
Speaking after his Republican Senate counterpart, Schumer said McConnell "does not seem inclined to compromise".
An increase in coronavirus infections and hospital stays have created new economic restraints and fears of a slowdown in the labor market. At the same time, federal student loan protections put in place earlier this year for unemployed Americans, renters and borrowers will expire in late December.
There is little time for Congress to send more aid. The leaders have signaled that they could add relief measures to a state funding bill that they must approve by December 11th.
Earlier on Thursday, Senate Democrat No. 2 called for a vote on the $ 908 billion package. Illinois Senator Dick Durbin told MSNBC, "We don't want to go home and face the reality of what will happen later this month."
"It's inexcusable. We have to go forward and we want our bill to be called," he said.
Durbin and President-elect Joe Biden have both described the proposal as an incomplete down payment on incentives as Democrats push for a full aid package. Congressional leaders have conceded that they will likely consider more relief next year after Biden takes office.
Some Republican senators have accepted little or no new stimulus spending, arguing that the economy has improved enough to support Americans until a large segment of the population gets vaccines. Other GOP lawmakers say the federal government needs to offer more assistance at a time when more than 20 million Americans are receiving some form of unemployment benefits and food banks across the country are seeing unprecedented demand.
Rep. Tom Reed, a New York Republican who helped draft the House side of the $ 908 billion plan, told CNBC that the price is "in the right range".
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