McConnell announces votes Tuesday, Wednesday on GOP stimulus measures; Pelosi sets deadline

Video above: Earlier this month Maryland leaders called for second coronavirus stimulus bill, saying it is ‘absolute necessity’ to maintain economic stabilitySenate Republicans on Tuesday will try to advance a stand-alone Paycheck Protection Program bill to help small businesses reeling from the coronavirus pandemic before moving on Wednesday to vote on the same $500 billion stimulus bill that Democrats blocked last month.The votes, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Saturday, come as he tries to put increasing political pressure on Democrats to support the PPP measure while negotiations over a sweeping coronavirus relief package remain stalled.It is not known how many Democrats might support it, but it is unlikely that the Senate Republican majority will get the necessary support to advance the bill.McConnell had announced on Tuesday that Senate Republicans would attempt to move forward on a “targeted” coronavirus relief bill when the Senate returns to session.”Republicans do not agree that nothing is better than something for working families,” he said in a statement referencing the small business loan Paycheck Protection Program. “The American people need Democrats to stop blocking bipartisan funding and let us replenish the PPP before more Americans lose their jobs needlessly.”Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday she and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin must reach an agreement within 48 hours if they want to pass a coronavirus stimulus relief bill before Election Day.”The 48 only relates to if we want to get it done before the election, which we do,” Pelosi said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” “But we’re saying to them we have to freeze the design on some of these things. Are we going with it or not? And what is the language.”Pelosi’s office told CNN Sunday that the 48 hours refers to the end of the day on Tuesday and that they need answers to key outstanding questions by then or they won’t be able to get a bill passed before the election. Negotiations would still continue after Tuesday if a deal isn’t reached, but it wouldn’t get done in time before Election Day.The California Democrat also said during the interview the White House has watered down language Democrats have been pushing to create a national plan for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing. She also noted that the Trump administration had changed much of the language on testing and tracing after the two sides seemingly came to an agreement last week.”They took out 55% of the language that we had there for testing and tracing,” Pelosi said, and noted that they are “seeking clarity” on the details of the language.Pelosi and Mnuchin spoke Saturday evening for more than an hour.Democrats have been pushing for a new stimulus with a price tag of more than $2 trillion. The action on Capitol Hill is just the latest in months of back and forth between the two parties and the Trump administration — with the partisan majorities in both chambers passing or attempting to pass their own preferred legislation, only to have it rejected out of hand by the opposite side.The Trump administration has made several attempts to negotiate with House Democrats, but a breakthrough has remained far out of reach throughout the course of the summer.The pressure to strike a deal has become increasingly urgent with unemployment levels elevated, an epidemic of small business closures, and the end of the direct payments and enhanced unemployment insurance that helped float families and individuals throughout the pandemic-created economic shutdowns.The pending result, according to economists, could be devastating if Congress and the Trump administration do not reach an agreement.Pelosi and Mnuchin did make tangible progress in their talks Thursday. Mnuchin agreed to accept “with minor edits” the Democratic language on a national strategic testing, tracing and surveillance proposal, according to Pelosi’s spokesman Drew Hammill.But Pelosi made clear to colleagues in a letter that several very significant policy disputes are nowhere near resolved.

Video above: Earlier this month Maryland leaders called for second coronavirus stimulus bill, saying it is ‘absolute necessity’ to maintain economic stability

Senate Republicans on Tuesday will try to advance a stand-alone Paycheck Protection Program bill to help small businesses reeling from the coronavirus pandemic before moving on Wednesday to vote on the same $500 billion stimulus bill that Democrats blocked last month.

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The votes, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Saturday, come as he tries to put increasing political pressure on Democrats to support the PPP measure while negotiations over a sweeping coronavirus relief package remain stalled.

It is not known how many Democrats might support it, but it is unlikely that the Senate Republican majority will get the necessary support to advance the bill.

McConnell had announced on Tuesday that Senate Republicans would attempt to move forward on a “targeted” coronavirus relief bill when the Senate returns to session.

“Republicans do not agree that nothing is better than something for working families,” he said in a statement referencing the small business loan Paycheck Protection Program. “The American people need Democrats to stop blocking bipartisan funding and let us replenish the PPP before more Americans lose their jobs needlessly.”

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday she and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin must reach an agreement within 48 hours if they want to pass a coronavirus stimulus relief bill before Election Day.

“The 48 only relates to if we want to get it done before the election, which we do,” Pelosi said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” “But we’re saying to them we have to freeze the design on some of these things. Are we going with it or not? And what is the language.”

Pelosi’s office told CNN Sunday that the 48 hours refers to the end of the day on Tuesday and that they need answers to key outstanding questions by then or they won’t be able to get a bill passed before the election. Negotiations would still continue after Tuesday if a deal isn’t reached, but it wouldn’t get done in time before Election Day.

The California Democrat also said during the interview the White House has watered down language Democrats have been pushing to create a national plan for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing. She also noted that the Trump administration had changed much of the language on testing and tracing after the two sides seemingly came to an agreement last week.

“They took out 55% of the language that we had there for testing and tracing,” Pelosi said, and noted that they are “seeking clarity” on the details of the language.

Pelosi and Mnuchin spoke Saturday evening for more than an hour.

Democrats have been pushing for a new stimulus with a price tag of more than $2 trillion.

The action on Capitol Hill is just the latest in months of back and forth between the two parties and the Trump administration — with the partisan majorities in both chambers passing or attempting to pass their own preferred legislation, only to have it rejected out of hand by the opposite side.

The Trump administration has made several attempts to negotiate with House Democrats, but a breakthrough has remained far out of reach throughout the course of the summer.

The pressure to strike a deal has become increasingly urgent with unemployment levels elevated, an epidemic of small business closures, and the end of the direct payments and enhanced unemployment insurance that helped float families and individuals throughout the pandemic-created economic shutdowns.

The pending result, according to economists, could be devastating if Congress and the Trump administration do not reach an agreement.

Pelosi and Mnuchin did make tangible progress in their talks Thursday. Mnuchin agreed to accept “with minor edits” the Democratic language on a national strategic testing, tracing and surveillance proposal, according to Pelosi’s spokesman Drew Hammill.

But Pelosi made clear to colleagues in a letter that several very significant policy disputes are nowhere near resolved.