Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, issued a joint statement on Monday urging colleagues to “find consensus on COVID relief before the holidays.”
“Congress has two critical items to tackle this week: funding the government and delivering crucial COVID relief to families, workers, and businesses across the country,” the statement read. “It is time for Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and House to find consensus on COVID relief before the holidays. We hope our Democrat counterparts share our sense of urgency.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., spoke with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin by phone Monday evening and continues to press for help for struggling states and localities. But top Democrats came out in support of a $748 billion plan offered by a bipartisan group of lawmakers and hinted they won’t insist on a pitched battle for state and local aid now.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers unveiled a detailed aid proposal in hopes it would serve as a model for their battling leaders to follow as they try to negotiate a final agreement.
But the group was unable to forge a compromise on GOP-sought provisions shielding businesses from COVID-related lawsuits, a key priority of McConnell and other Republicans.
Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, said some Democrats aren’t budging on the aid over the lawsuit provision.
“I talked with the [White House] chief of staff [Mark Meadows] about it this morning. He said Nancy Pelosi is unfortunately putting the interest of trial lawyers first. These trial lawyers are the ones who are going to go after small businesses. That’s the last thing they need as they are trying to weather COVID, is all of this liability on their hands,” McEnany added.