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McCarthy says he and McConnell back $600 stimulus checks

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reportedly told the White House on Tuesday that they would support including $600 stimulus checks in a coronavirus relief package.

McCarthy told Axios that he and McConnell would back the amount, which is being sought by the White House as part of its proposed $916 billion package. The stimulus checks were not included in the package McConnell laid out last week.

Spokespeople for McCarthy and McConnell did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Hill.

The White House’s new proposal, which was presented by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, was ultimately rejected Tuesday by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who said the package was inadequate and obstructive of existing bipartisan talks over a separate compromise.

“While it is progress that Leader McConnell has signed off on a $916 billion offer that is based off of the bipartisan framework, the President’s proposal must not be allowed to obstruct the bipartisan Congressional talks that are underway. Members of the House and Senate have been engaged in good-faith negotiations and continue to make progress. The bipartisan talks are the best hope for a bipartisan solution,” Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement. 

“The President’s proposal starts by cutting the unemployment insurance proposal being discussed by bipartisan Members of the House and Senate from $180 billion to $40 billion. That is unacceptable.”  

Stimulus checks for up to $1,200 were included in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed earlier this year, but Congress has been unable to come to an agreement on another large deal since.

Both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue are under increasing pressure to come to some agreement on a relief package as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths surge across the country.

The latest stumbling blocks have been Democrats’ push for funding for state and local governments, while McConnell and Republicans have insisted on including a liability shield for businesses from coronavirus-related lawsuits. 

McConnell and McCarthy proposed Tuesday dropping both provisions, but Democrats have said any package without funding for state and local governments is a non-starter.

Tags Charles Schumer Chuck Schumer Kevin McCarthy Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Steven Mnuchin

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