Hoyer says he's open to slimmed down COVID-19 relief bill

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerDemocrats face mounting hurdles to agenda This week: Congress returns with lengthy to-do list House to vote on DC statehood, gender pay gap MORE (D-Md.), indicated Sunday that Democratic House leadership was open to accepting a COVID-19 relief deal with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump: McConnell 'helpless' to stop Biden from packing court Senate GOP opens door to earmarks McConnell sidesteps Trump calling him 'dumb son of a b----' MORE (R-Ky.) that doesn't include aid to state and local governments.

"I mean, I think we need to get an agreement, and we need to get this bill passed," Hoyer told CNN's Abby Phillip during an interview on "Inside Politics." 

He added, "If we can get [state and local assistance], we want to get it, but we want to get aid out to the people who are really, really struggling and are at great risk."


The window is closing for Congress to reach a deal on an additional round of coronavirus relief funding. While months of negotiations have brought agreement on some issues, the two sides remain far apart on two major sticking points: state and local aid and legal protections for businesses from coronavirus lawsuits.

McConnell last week suggested dropping both liability protections, which he has been advocating, and state and local funding from a deal in order to pass a bill. Hoyer on Sunday suggested Democrats may be interested in such an agreement.

He said the deal must include money for vaccines, unemployment assistance and small business loans.

"We need to get the essential done and we'll have time to get stuff done that we didn't include because we couldn't get political agreement. We'll have time to do that. We have a new president. We have a new Congress. We're not going to leave anybody behind," he continued.

Some lawmakers have warned publicly that back-and-forth demands from various factions have endangered the prospect of reaching a deal before the end of the year at all.

“We’re stuck in the same place we were four months ago," Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) said this week.

“[McConnell] ought to just turn to the members of the Senate and say, ‘Look, we can stay here forever and not reach an agreement. It's time to vote. Have at it, dog. If you want to vote against it, vote against,’” he added.