Murkowski after Trump halts talks: Congress must move on virus package

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump, allies launch onslaught as midterms kick into gear Emboldened Trump takes aim at GOP foes The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - DC prepares for Saturday of festivals & Jan. 6 demonstration MORE (R-Alaska) said Tuesday that she thought talks on another coronavirus relief package should continue, even after President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE pulled the plug until after the election.

"Now is not the time for Congress to stop doing its work. I strongly believe negotiations should continue, particularly among those of us in Congress. ... We all need to keep working until we reach a bipartisan agreement that can pass both chambers and be signed by the president," Murkowski said in a statement. 

Murkowski is the second GOP senator to push back against the abrupt end to the negotiations, which Trump announced via a series of tweets earlier Tuesday.

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump's decision comes as House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi says House members would not vote on spending bill topline higher than Senate's McConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinMenendez, Rubio ask Yellen to probe meatpacker JBS The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Biden rallies Senate Dems behind mammoth spending plan Mnuchin dodges CNBC questions on whether Trump lying over election MORE have talked daily, and met in person last week, as part of an effort to try to revive the long-stalled negotiations and reach an agreement. 

The president, however, said in a string of tweets that he had told his negotiating team — Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsGraham found Trump election fraud arguments suitable for 'third grade': Woodward book Allies see rising prospect of Trump 2024 White House bid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US prepares vaccine booster plan MORE — to walk away. 

"I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business," Trump tweeted. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 McConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE (R-Ky.) offered support for Trump's decision on Tuesday, saying the president's view "was that they were not going to produce a result."

McConnell has been publicly noncommittal about moving any deal reached by Pelosi and Mnuchin in the Senate. And top members of his leadership team have cast doubt that a bill starting at $1.5 trillion or $1.6 trillion, the White House's latest offer, could get enough GOP support to pass the Senate.

But Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMcConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike GOP senator will 'probably' vote for debt limit increase Welcome to ground zero of climate chaos MORE (R-Maine), an endangered incumbent who like Murkowski is part of a dwindling group of moderates, called the decision to end talks a "huge mistake." 

"I have already been in touch with the Secretary of the Treasury, one of the chief negotiators, and with several of my Senate colleagues," Collins said in a statement.