The American people are continuing to suffer through the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, and it no longer appears as though government assistance is imminent.
Early on in the crisis, the federal government was quick to act. Knowing that the nation would need to slow down and stay socially distanced, Congress worked quickly to pass a preliminary stimulus bill that not only sent direct payments out to American citizens, but also to boost unemployment benefits and provide funds for small businesses affected by the pandemic.
Now, as the nation grows impatient for a second round of stimulus, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has some bad news.
President Donald Trump’s most powerful GOP ally in the Senate said Friday that Congress is unlikely to deliver another big COVID-19 relief bill before the election, casting doubt on the on-again, off-again negotiations that have failed to deliver results so far despite weeks of talks.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told an audience in Kentucky that he doesn’t see a deal coming together soon out of a “murky” situation in which the participants in the negotiations are elbowing for political advantage.
“I’d like to see us rise above that like we did in March and April but I think it’s unlikely in the next three weeks,” McConnell said.
The statement differed from the attitude of the President, however.
He spoke after Trump apparently performed an about-face, empowering Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to resume negotiations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on a larger, comprehensive coronavirus relief package despite calling off the talks just days before.
Trump on Friday took to Twitter to declare, “Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!”
And White House economic adviser Lawrence Kudlow told reporters that “developments are positive” and that the “the bid and the offer have narrowed” in advance of a telephone conversation later Friday between Pelosi and Mnuchin.
McConnell did reiterate his belief that a new stimulus package was necessary, but that he feels the chance of accomplishing something before the election is just too slim.
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