Senate

McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says he expects Congress to move another coronavirus relief package “right at the beginning” of 2021, breaking from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who told reporters Thursday she wants to get a deal in the lame-duck session.

“We probably need to do another package, certainly more modest than the $3 trillion Nancy Pelosi package. I think that’ll be something we’ll need to do right at the beginning of the year,” McConnell told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Friday.

“We could target it particularly at small businesses that are struggling, and hospitals that are now dealing with the second wave of the coronavirus, and of course the challenges for education, both K-12 and college,” the GOP leader said.

McConnell offered a slower timeline than other lawmakers, who expect a deal to move after the election but before the end of the year or before the end of President Trump’s first term in January.

Pelosi told reporters Thursday of her expectation of reaching an agreement with the Trump administration in the lame-duck session.

“We’ll have — we will — well, I want a bill for two reasons. First and foremost, the American people need help. They need real help. And, second of all, we have plenty of work to do in the Joe Biden administration,” Pelosi said, predicting a win for the Democratic presidential nominee.

Senate Republican Whip John Thune (S.D.) also said this week that he thought a coronavirus relief deal would move in November or December.

“The motivation level on both sides will depend on how the election comes out, but I think either way we’ll do something. The question is how much,” Thune said.

Trump predicted earlier this week that Congress would approve a big package right after Election Day, signaling his expectation that he’ll win a second term on Nov. 3.

“After the election, we’ll get the best stimulus package you’ve ever seen,” he said.

The president also predicted that Republicans would win back the House, a scenario that political handicappers view as highly unlikely.

“I think we’re going to take back the House. I think we’re going to do very well in the Senate,” he said Friday.

“And I think we’re going to have a fantastic presidential election because nobody has done more than this administration in the first 3 1/2 years,” he said.

Tags coronavirus relief aid COVID-19 pandemic Donald Trump Joe Biden John Thune Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi

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