The $500 billion bill focuses on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), liability protections for businesses, added unemployment benefits, and money for reopening schools.
Senators will vote on the bill on Oct. 19, when the full Senate returns to Washington, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement.
“We don’t agree with Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi that ‘nothing’ is better than ‘something’ for workers,” he said. “Unless Democrats block this aid for workers, we will have time to pass it before we proceed as planned to the pending Supreme Court nomination.”
Pelosi, the leader of the House of Representatives, has suggested in recent weeks that something is not better than nothing.
“We’re not just taking the path of least resistance because everybody says, ‘Just take something, something is better than nothing,’” she said during an Oct. 2 appearance on MSNBC.
Pelosi on Saturday rejected the Trump administration’s most gEnerous relief offer yet, valued at around $1.8 trillion, including around $300 billion in state and local fiscal relief Democrats have been fighting for, arguing it did not provide enough funding to testing, worker safety, and child care.
“When the president talks about wanting a bigger relief package, his proposal appears to mean that he wants more money at his discretion to grant or withhold,” Pelosi said in a letter to colleagues.
Pelosi added, “At this point, we still have disagreement on many priorities, and Democrats are awaiting language from the administration on several provisions as the negotiations on the overall funding amount continue.”
Democrats’ last bill, a $2.2 trillion package, was passed by the House on Oct. 1.
On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows called on Congress to pass a bill that would enable the usage of billions of dollars in leftover PPP funds. The program, meant to help businesses keep employees on the payroll, was authorized under March’s CARES Act.
“Secretary Mnuchin and Chief of Staff Meadows are right: There is no excuse for Democrats to keep blocking job-saving funding for the Paycheck Protection Program while other conversations continue,” McConnell said in a statement, in which he noted that the program has saved tens of millions of American jobs and an earlier top-up of funds enjoyed bipartisan backing.
“But it has become yet another casualty of Democrats’ all-or-nothing obstruction,” McConnell wrote.
Democrats used the filibuster to block the GOP relief bill last month.
“Democrats have spent months blocking policies they do not even oppose. They say anything short of their multi-trillion-dollar wish list, jammed with non-COVID-related demands, is ‘piecemeal’ and not worth doing,” McConnell said Tuesday. “Speaker Pelosi frequently says she feels ‘nothing’ is better than ‘something,’” McConnell wrote, adding, “And she has worked hard to ensure that nothing is what American families get.”
Pelosi, in an open letter to Democrats earlier in the day, said the administration’s latest proposal “amounted to one step forward, two steps back.”
“Significant changes must be made to remedy the Trump proposal’s deficiencies. Updates will continue,” she added.
“I remain hopeful that the White House will finally join us to recognize the needs of the American people, and take action to address the health and economic crisis in their lives.”
Zachary Stieber and Jack Phillips contributed to this report.
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