McConnell not certain there will be a fifth coronavirus package

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFord to bolster electric vehicle production in multi-billion dollar push On The Money — GOP blocks spending bill to kick off chaotic week in congress Overnight Health Care — Presented by Alrtia — Booster shots get bipartisan rollout MORE (R-Ky.) on Monday cast doubt on whether negotiators would be able to break the impasse on a fifth coronavirus package, though he said that he thinks there needs to be another bill.

"We do need another bill and I'm hoping that this impasse will end soon. ...[But] I can't tell you yet here today whether there's going to be additional relief for health care providers," McConnell said at an event in Kentucky.

"I'm hoping what we're talking about today is not that last tranche that we will make, but as of the moment, today, I can't tell you with certainty we're going to reach an agreement," he said, adding that the talks had been "further complicated" by the November elections.


McConnell's remarks come after negotiations between the Trump administration and congressional Democrats derailed earlier this month amid deep policy and political differences.

Republicans have lined up behind aid totaling roughly $1 trillion, while the House passed a more than $3 trillion package in May. As part of the talks, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiManchin cast doubt on deal this week for .5T spending bill Obama says US 'desperately needs' Biden legislation ahead of key votes Congress shows signs of movement on stalled Biden agenda MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerObama says US 'desperately needs' Biden legislation ahead of key votes Congress shows signs of movement on stalled Biden agenda Schumer gets shoutout, standing ovation from crowd at Tony Awards MORE (D-N.Y.) offered to drop their price tag by $1 trillion if Republicans agreed to add $1 trillion to their top line.

"We are miles apart in our values," Pelosi told reporters last Thursday.

"Perhaps you mistook them for somebody who gave a damn," she added, referring to Republicans. "That isn't the case. This is very far apart."

Asked when her next talk would be with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks Former Treasury secretaries tried to resolve debt limit impasse in talks with McConnell, Yellen: report Menendez, Rubio ask Yellen to probe meatpacker JBS MORE and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsJan. 6 committee chair says panel will issue a 'good number' of additional subpoenas Graham told Trump he 'f'd up' his presidency: book Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE, Pelosi responded: "I don't know. When they come in with $2 trillion."

That strategy would then require Democrats and the administration to hash out a top line between $2 trillion and roughly $2.5 trillion.


Mnuchin and Meadows, however, rejected the offer.

McConnell said on Monday that a $2.5 trillion bill would be "difficult to justify."

The Kentucky Republican also gave no indication that he is preparing to bring the chamber back early from its three-week August break, even as the House will return this week for legislation to block changes to the U.S. Postal Service ahead of the presidential election.

He said "nothing was lost" by allowing members to go back to their home states, since most aren't directly involved in the negotiations. 

"The House hasn't been around most of the time and the talks are occurring between the top leaders. ... There was no point in keeping them there, we were not voting on other matters," McConnell said.

Mnuchin and Meadows are briefing Senate Republicans daily.