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McConnell Floats Possibility Of $500B In COVID Stimulus

As the deliberation over another pandemic-related stimulus continues, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’s open to a $500 billion package, Reuters reported.

The package would go toward healing the economic pain of the pandemic, according to Reuters. However, as of Tuesday (Nov. 17), McConnell reportedly hadn’t spoken with House Democrats or President-elect Joe Biden in private.

As CNBC reported, the government is still not close to passing another bill.

No new aid has been passed in months as lawmakers have remained gridlocked over particulars of a bill, including how much would be spent and on what. According to CNBC, neither Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer nor House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have spoken with McConnell about the stimulus issue since the Nov. 3 election, with both appearing “stuck” in the same stances they had held prior to the election.

The prime disagreement is and has been the amount of money both sides want to see, with Democrats angling for something around $2 trillion for a broad set of aid measures, while Republicans have favored a smaller, more targeted bill for the worst-affected areas.

Meanwhile, the virus has been flooding hospitals to the breaking point in recent weeks, while state and local officials have had to grapple with the logistics of restricting activities.

And the situation may not improve, according to CNN, as lawmakers aren’t likely to reach an agreement on the stimulus amid another deadline for a government spending negotiation, which is due Dec. 11.

The election, which resulted in Biden defeating incumbent President Donald Trump after days of counting mail-in votes, hasn’t seemed to affect the parties’ thoughts on how to pass more stimulus funds. McConnell said he isn’t willing to go too large in the amount spent, while Schumer said Biden’s win proved that there is a will for a “Joe Biden approach,” ABC News reported.

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