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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 PelosiOvernight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases House Democrats urge congressional leaders to support .1B budget for IRS Bipartisan Senate group holding coronavirus relief talks amid stalemate MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerOvernight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases The five biggest challenges facing President-elect Biden Collins urges voters to turn out in Georgia runoffs 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 McConnellSenate approves two energy regulators, completing panel On The Money: Biden announces key members of economic team | GOP open to Yellen as Treasury secretary, opposed to budget pick | GAO: Labor Department 'improperly presented' jobless data Senate GOP open to confirming Yellen to be Biden's Treasury secretary 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.