McConnell: House coronavirus bill an ‘ideological wish list’

Bonnie Cash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) panned the House coronavirus package on Thursday, calling it an “ideological wish list” and raising fresh questions about whether anything can pass Congress quickly.

“Unfortunately, it appears at this hour that the Speaker and House Democrats instead chose to produce an ideological wish list that was not tailored closely to the circumstances,” McConnell said.

“One is reminded of the famous comment from President Obama’s first chief of staff: ‘You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,’ ” he added.

House Democrats unveiled their coronavirus package late Wednesday night. The bill expands unemployment insurance by providing states with at least $1 billion to compensate for administrative costs and other contingencies arising as a result of the coronavirus response.

The bill also provides $500 million for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children to provide food assistance for low-income mothers who lose their jobs due to the coronavirus, as well as $400 million to help local food banks meet increased demand.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is continuing to negotiate with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. The two started their third call of the day on Thursday just before 11:30 a.m.

“Language discussions are continuing,” her spokesman said in a tweet.

But Republicans have panned the proposal, raising questions about what sort of support it will get in the House and its future in the GOP-controlled Senate.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said he would not support the bill.

“The country is looking to the government to come together and meet these challenges, but the bill that we saw that just came forth last night at 11 p.m. comes up short,” McCarthy told reporters at a press conference on Thursday.

McConnell added that he thought House Democrats included “various areas of policy that are barely related, if at all, to the issue before us.”

“As currently drafted, the proposal appears to impose permanent unfunded mandates on businesses that could cause massive job losses and put thousands of small businesses at risk,” he added.

Tags Coronavirus Kevin McCarthy Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi
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