(Bloomberg) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered a new proposal for a stimulus package and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he is circulating among Republicans his own revised plan, which has the backing of President Donald Trump.
The sudden emergence of fresh plans for pandemic relief indicated a new stage in a monthslong saga that’s so far failed to produce a compromise -- even as the coronavirus continues to spread.
Neither Pelosi nor McConnell offered any details about their latest proposals. McConnell warned that time is running out to agree on a stimulus before the end of the year and there was no point in passing any legislation that Trump won’t sign before he leaves office on Jan. 20.
“Waiting until next year is not an answer,” McConnell said. “I’m focused on accomplishing as much as we can” over the next three weeks, he said.
McConnell spoke just hours after a bipartisan group of lawmakers from the House and Senate proposed their own $908 billion compromise in an effort to break the stalemate. President-elect Joe Biden separately urged Congress to act before he takes office.
Biden called on Congress to pass a “robust package” to deal with the economic crisis wrought by the coronavirus pandemic. He added that any package passed in a lame duck session would likely be “at best just a start.”
McConnell said he was trying to gauge support among the Republican majority in the Senate before publicly unveiling his plan. He said it could be combined with a government funding bill that Congress needs to pass to avoid a partial federal shutdown after Dec. 11.
Pelosi said in a statement that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he would review the proposal she and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer sent Monday night to their GOP counterparts.
McConnell has previously supported a $500 billion package, but the White House has indicated that Trump is willing back a bigger bill. Still, any stimulus would have to pass in the Democratic controlled House, where Pelosi has been pushing a $2.4 trillion plan.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the administration has been in talks with McConnell and House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy about a “targeted” aid package. Mnuchin said he spoke with the duo, along with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Tuesday morning.
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