Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced on Sunday that Senate and House leaders have finalized a new coronavirus stimulus bill to continue helping Americans hardest hit by the pandemic. McConnell also slammed Democrats for stalling on a deal, saying that Republicans had wanted to do this months ago, but that Democrats, by their own admission, had stalled because they didn’t want to make a deal before the election.
“More help is on the way,” McConnell said. “Moments ago, in consultation with our committees, the four leaders in the Senate and the House finalized an agreement. There will be another major rescue package for the American people. As our citizens continue battling the coronavirus this holiday season, they will not be fighting alone.”
“We’ve agreed to a package of nearly $900 billion. It is packed with targeted policies to help struggling Americans who have already waited too long,” McConnell continued. “For workers at the hardest-hit small businesses, there will be a targeted second draw of the Paycheck Protection Program. We have not worked so hard to save as many jobs as possible, all these months, only to fumble the ball with vaccinations already underway.”
McConnell noted that the package will significantly beef up funds for the logistics of rolling out the new coronavirus vaccines that were developed alongside the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed.
“Of course, many millions of Americans have lost their jobs — and are continuing to lose them — through no fault of their own. This package will renew and extend a number of the additional important federal unemployment benefits that have helped families stay afloat,” he said. “Across all kinds of families, in all kinds of situations, this has been a difficult time across the board. So, at the particular request and emphasis of President Trump and his administration, our agreement will provide another round of direct impact payments to help households make ends meet and continue our economic recovery.”
McConnell added that the package will continue to fund frontline health care workers and will supply billions to ensure that kids can go back to school.
“And importantly, we’re going to supply this emergency aid in a way that is smart and responsible. We will be repurposing more than $560 billion in money that was already set aside by the CARES Act — but not spent — toward these urgent needs,” McConnell said. “And we’ll be appropriately paring back some of the most expansive powers that Congress temporarily gave unelected officials to stabilize the financial system back in the springtime. At long last, we have the bipartisan breakthrough the country has needed.”
McConnell then slammed Democrats for stalling for months on getting the deal done, saying, “From where I stand, from where Senate Republicans stand, there is no reason why this urgent package could not have been signed into law multiple months ago.”
“For months, Senate Republicans have consistently supported a targeted rescue package, under $1 trillion, focused on the same kinds of policies that we have settled on today,” he said. “As far back as July, and all autumn, Republicans have consistently supported a targeted package right in the ballpark of this total amount, with the same kinds of policies in the mix. The package that will shortly become law falls exactly within the ballpark of what Senate Republicans have been proposing and trying to pass since last summer. Compare the shape of this major agreement with the shape of what I proposed all the way back in late July. Yes, some fine details are different.”
“There is no doubt this new agreement contains input from our Democratic colleagues. It is bipartisan. But these matters could have been settled long ago,” he continued. “So why did it take all this time? We know why. We have heard Democrats say openly that they were not willing to deal all summer and fall, but are willing now, because they now have a President-elect of their own political party. That’s not my accusation … that’s their admission.”
“So, look, I’m glad we’ve gotten this done. My Democratic colleagues and I have had good discussions this past week. Both parties have a lot to be proud of,” he concluded on the matter. “But I really regret that some on the Democratic side decided that partisan presidential politics were more important than getting urgent and noncontroversial relief out the door much, much sooner — to families who have needed this help badly. The progress of this past week could have happened in July, or in August, or in September, or in October. Senate Republicans were advocating for a package just like this one, all along, in real time. I just wish our partners on the other side had put political calculations aside and worked with us to make this happen a long time ago.”
Pelosi said “nothing was better than something” and has openly admitted her delay was about impacting the Presidential election.
There is one person responsible for this delay, and she’s proud of it.
Shocking to see reporters try to give her cover. https://t.co/rnry5U3lra
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) December 20, 2020