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GOP senator predicts a 'less than 50 percent chance of passing another bill'

GOP senator predicts a 'less than 50 percent chance of passing another bill'
© Bonnie Cash

Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) on Tuesday expressed doubts that Congress will be able to pass another coronavirus relief package as he pressed Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinMcConnell and Schumer's relationship shredded after court brawl On The Money: Trump says stimulus deal will happen after election | Holiday spending estimates lowest in four years | Domestic workers saw jobs, hours plummet due to COVID Trump says stimulus deal will happen after election MORE to support allowing states to cover revenue shortfalls with funds that Congress has already appropriated.

"We may not be able to pass another bill. I think it's less than 50 percent chance of passing another bill," Kennedy said during a Senate Banking Committee hearing. "Why would we not allow states, without appropriating any new money, to use that money to address revenue shortfalls that you and the chairman of the Fed both agree are going to exist and be substantial?" 

Kennedy said that it appears to him that the "game plan" will be for Mnuchin, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell: Battle for Senate 'a 50-50 proposition' 'Packing' federal courts is already a serious problem What a Biden administration should look like MORE (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHouse Democrats introduce bill to invest 0 billion in STEM research and education Graham dismisses criticism from Fox Business's Lou Dobbs Lewandowski: Trump 'wants to see every Republican reelected regardless of ... if they break with the president' MORE (D-N.Y.), House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: Trump should accept election results 'like a man' The spectre of pension failures haunts this election Microsoft: Iranian hacking group targeting attendees of major international security conferences MORE (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyMcCarthy urges networks not to call presidential race until 'every polling center has closed' House Republicans slated to hold leadership election on Nov. 17 Rocky Mountain National Park closed due to expanding Colorado wildfire MORE (R-Calif.) to negotiate a deal on a subsequent package and then present it to the rank-and-file members of Congress.

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In the past, lawmakers not involved in the discussions would "moan and groan" but then go along with congressional leaders. However, Kennedy said that he's "not sure that's going to work this time."

"I think that whatever deal y'all come up with is going to receive serious pushback from both Republicans and Democrats in both houses for a variety of reasons," he said. "I could, of course, be wrong, but I doubt it." 

Mnuchin replied to Kennedy by saying that he has "no intention of doing what you've just described," and said that there were "at least 20 or 30 senators," both Republicans and Democrats, who "participated in the detailed analysis of the last bill." 

Kennedy said that there are more House members than there are senators. He said he wasn't trying to be critical, but the top-down approach is "the way it works around here and we all know it." 

Kennedy has introduced legislation to allow state and local governments to use the $150 billion of funding provided for them in the coronavirus relief package President TrumpDonald John TrumpHillary Clinton responds to Chrissy Teigen tweet: 'I love you back' Police called after Florida moms refuse to wear face masks at school board meeting about mask policy Supreme Court rejects Trump effort to shorten North Carolina mail-ballot deadline MORE signed in late March for operating expenses unrelated to the coronavirus. He and other GOP senators discussed the bill with Trump and Mnuchin in a meeting last week.

Mnuchin said he appreciates Kennedy's bill, adding that "if there's bipartisan support for that, I'm sure that the president and I would look forward to that."