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Stimulus Deal Advances, but a Big Skeptic Remains

Senate majority leader McConnell thinks it's unlikely to happen before the election
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2020 3:58 PM CDT

(Newser) – With President Trump's on-and-off support now back on, the White House sent a bigger stimulus package proposal to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Pelosi spent a half-hour discussing the $1.8 trillion plan on the phone Friday afternoon, Politico reports. The two sides are still $400 billion apart on the total cost of the pandemic relief package, per the Wall Street Journal, and they disagree on distribution—how much would go to state and local governments, for example. Pelosi said that she'll look the bill over. "We're anticipating some answers to some questions that we have, and we respond to some of the questions they have," the speaker said, adding that "part of it is about money, and part of it is about policy." Trump provided enthusiasm for the deal Friday. "Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!" he tweeted.

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That might seem like an endorsement that will move GOP negotiators closer to the Democrats' plan, just days after Trump called the whole thing off, but the president muddied the issue a bit in an interview. "I would like to see a bigger stimulus package than, frankly, either the Democrats or the Republicans are offering," he told Rush Limbaugh. Trump conceded that's a 180 from what he wanted before. But an agreement between Trump and the negotiators might not be enough. Republicans in Congress lack interest in the fight, per Axios, which adds that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn't want anything to get in the way of putting Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court. On Friday, McConnell said passage of a stimulus deal is unlikely before the election, per CNBC. (Read more economic stimulus package stories.)

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