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Pelosi, Schumer warn GOP coronavirus bill 'headed nowhere'

Pelosi, Schumer warn GOP coronavirus bill 'headed nowhere'
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House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden reverses Trump limits on transgender protections The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Infrastructure, Cheney ouster on deck as Congress returns This week: Congressional leaders to meet with Biden amid GOP reckoning MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHouse conservatives take aim at Schumer-led bipartisan China bill There will be no new immigration law under Biden, unless he changes course This week: Congressional leaders to meet with Biden amid GOP reckoning MORE (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday warned that a forthcoming GOP coronavirus proposal is a non-starter.

The two congressional Democratic leaders, in a joint statement, said the pared-down Republican bill is “headed nowhere.”

“Senate Republicans appear dead-set on another bill which doesn’t come close to addressing the problems and is headed nowhere. If anyone doubts McConnell’s true intent is anything but political, just look at the bill. This proposal is laden with poison pills Republicans know Democrats would never support," Pelosi and Schumer said, referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellManchin, Biden huddle amid talk of breaking up T package Romney: Removing Cheney from House leadership will cost GOP election votes The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden reverses Trump limits on transgender protections MORE (R-Ky.).

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McConnell is preparing to force a vote as soon as this week on a forthcoming pared-down GOP coronavirus proposal.

The GOP bill is expected to include a federal unemployment benefit, another round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding, more money for coronavirus testing and schools, as well as liability protections from lawsuits related to the virus. 

Republicans previously introduced a $1.1 trillion coronavirus package in late July. Pelosi and Schumer had offered to drop $1 trillion from their own $3.4 trillion price tag if Republicans agreed to increase their offer by the same amount. 

Instead, the Senate GOP proposal is expected to be significantly smaller than the previous GOP package. McConnell didn't release a price tag for the forthcoming bill, but it is expected to be at least $500 billion — half of the $1 trillion package Republicans previously unveiled in late July.  

The bill does not include another round of stimulus checks or Democratic priorities like more money for state and local governments, who have seen their tax base dry up as the coronavirus forced businesses to close. 

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Pelosi and Schumer argued that McConnell was forcing the vote in a move to protect vulnerable incumbents, something GOP sources have acknowledged is at the forefront of his mind as he fights to hold on to the majority in the upper chamber.

Republicans previously discussed forcing votes on unemployment insurance or a stand-alone PPP bill but scrapped those plans because of divisions among the caucus.

Without help from Democrats, the GOP bill will fall short of the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate. 

McConnell, in a statement, said the proposal does not include everything supported by Republicans. The GOP leader, who previously predicted up to 20 GOP senators wouldn't support more coronavirus relief, is working to lock down 51 GOP votes for the bill. 

"Republicans believe the many serious differences between our two parties should not stand in the way of agreeing where we can agree and making law that helps our nation," he said.