McConnell predicts coronavirus relief deal 'in the near future'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGraham: GOP will confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the election Trump puts Supreme Court fight at center of Ohio rally The Memo: Dems face balancing act on SCOTUS fight MORE (R-Ky.) on Thursday predicted that White House negotiators, Democratic leaders and Senate Republicans will reach a deal “in the near future” to approve another round of federal coronavirus relief.

“Exactly when that deal comes together I couldn’t tell you, but I think it will at some point in the near future,” McConnell said in an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” when asked about the chances of reaching a deal by Friday, a deadline set by Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinShutdown clash looms after Democrats unveil spending bill Lawmakers fear voter backlash over failure to reach COVID-19 relief deal United Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid MORE and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsSouthwest Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid Airline CEOs plead with Washington as layoffs loom Trump reacts to Ginsburg's death: 'An amazing woman who led an amazing life' MORE.

“There is a desire on the part of both the Democrats and the Republicans, at least most of the Republicans, not every single one, that we get to an outcome because the economy does need an additional boost until we get the vaccine,” he said.

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McConnell made clear that he does not agree with fellow Senate Republicans who say Congress shouldn’t pass any additional aid since an estimated $1 trillion from previous relief packages have yet to be spent.

“I’m advocating an additional deal. I’ve got members, some of whom have been on your network this morning who think we’ve done enough — that’s not my view,” he said.

Meadows said Wednesday that if negotiators couldn’t reach agreement on the top-line spending number and the core components of the relief bill by Friday, the talks may be suspended.

“I’ve become extremely doubtful that we’ll be able to make a deal if it goes well beyond Friday ... just because we’ve been spending so much time together that if you’re not making progress, there’s no sense to continue.

McConnell struck a different tone Thursday morning.

The GOP leader said he agrees with Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that wearing masks and social distancing won’t be enough to get the economy back to full strength.

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“I share the view of the chairman of the Fed and the secretary of the Treasury that we do need another boost, and somehow we’ll resolve our differences in this political tug of war and get something done for the American people,” McConnell predicted.

He doubled down, however, on two Republican demands that have emerged as obstacles in the talks with Democrats: reducing unemployment benefits and providing coronavirus liability protection to businesses, schools, nonprofit organizations and health care providers.

“I think we should not continue the process of paying some people more not to work than to work. I do think we need to adjust whatever unemployment compensation bonus there is to reflect that it’s not fair for your neighbor to stay home and make more and you go back to work and make less,” he said.

McConnell told reporters Wednesday that the Senate will stay in session next week in an effort to pass a deal before leaving town for the August recess.

“We’re certainly going to be in next week. We’ll see what happens after that,” he said.

On Thursday he signaled that he is letting senators return home until a deal is struck.