McConnell dares Democrats to block 'targeted' Covid relief before election

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate will take one more shot at a “targeted” coronavirus relief bill before the election, an approach Democrats have repeatedly rejected as insufficient.

With President Donald Trump and his top aides urging the GOP to address the issue and replenish the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses, McConnell (R-Ky.) is daring Democrats to block it again.

“Republicans do not agree that nothing is better than something for working families. The American people need Democrats to stop blocking bipartisan funding and let us replenish the PPP before more Americans lose their jobs needlessly,” McConnell said on Tuesday morning.

Democrats this week have attacked McConnell for prioritizing confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett over coronavirus relief. The GOP has blamed Democrats for refusing to accept a smaller package than a sweeping coronavirus bill of several trillion dollars.

The Senate is expected to reconvene on Monday, barely two weeks before the election. But McConnell said the Senate would have time to consider both a coronavirus bill and Barrett’s nomination before the election “unless Democrats block this aid for workers.”

It’s not entirely clear if Democrats will allow debate on the bill, but they voted down a similar proposal in September. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has sought at least $2 trillion in funding for economic relief in negotiations with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Many Senate Republicans have bristled at the White House’s latest $1.8 trillion offer to Pelosi, and McConnell’s move suggests at least some effort to unite the GOP. Meadows and Mnuchin had requested the vote earlier this week.

Shortly after McConnell’s announcement, Trump tweeted that his party “should go big or go home!!!”

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