McConnell’s estimate comes as Congressional Democrats and the administration struggle to reach a deal after days of discussions over a potential fifth coronavirus package as cases soar across the country and an economy bludgeoned by the pandemic.
McConnell, during the radio interview, said the two sides were “light years away,” the latest sign that Congress and the White House are not close to a quick deal.
“This negotiation will be difficult,” he added. “At the moment, there is not a lot of movement. ”
But GOP divisions were also in the spotlight after several senators trashed their own party’s package, which was unveiled on Monday. Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyHillicon Valley: Trump raises idea of delaying elections, faces rapid bipartisan backlash | Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google Publish Profit Reports | Senators Call on Justice Department to Investigate TikTok, Zoom Senators Urge Department of Justice to Open TikTok Investigation, Zoom GOP Under Increasing Pressure to Quickly Reach Virus Deal MORE (R-Mo.) Called the bill a “mess,” while the senator. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseTrump Tests GOP Loyalty With Election Tweet And Stimulus Strategy Overnight Defense: US To Remove 11,900 Soldiers From Germany | Troop reshuffle will cost “billions” of dollars | Legislators’ pan withdrawal plan | Trump says he did not discuss alleged bonuses with Putin lawmakers, torching Trump’s plan to withdraw 11,900 troops from Germany MORE (R-Neb.) Argued that the negotiations were being led by “two great Democrats in the government”.
McConnell, when asked why a significant part of his conference opposes yet another bill, noted the growing size of the country’s debt after Congress already appropriated nearly $ 3 trillion in four previous coronavirus bills.
“Their argument is not irrational. … They don’t think we should pass another of these bills. I don’t agree with that, ”McConnell said.
Asked what these GOP senators would say to voters, McConnell added, “I think everyone has to make their best call here. ”
If 20 Republicans voted against a possible coronavirus deal, that means McConnell would need the support of at least 27 Democratic senators to push the bill above a procedural threshold of 60 votes and pass it in Senate. McConnell said in an interview with PBS “Newshour” earlier this week that “about 20 of my members think we’ve done enough already. ”
Minority Leader in the Senate Charles SchumerChuck SchumerLincoln Project Targets Senate Races in Alaska, Maine and Montana With Mr. Buy Pelosi, Schumer Says GOP’s Senate Coronavirus Bill “Sells Working Families” Hill – Featured by Facebook – Barr’s Showdown with House Democrats PLUS (DN.Y.) referred to GOP divisions as he called on the administration to make progress on a bigger fifth package. Republicans offered a package of about $ 1 trillion, while the bill passed by House Democrats was about $ 3 trillion.
“A senator said, ‘There are a hundred problems with the plan. Another: “It’s a mess. I can’t figure out what it is. … It would be harsh criticism if it came from Democrats. But those quotes weren’t from Democrats, they were Republican senators talking about their own party’s plan, ”Schumer said in a Senate speech this week.
The four previous bills passed in the Senate without opposition or with only a handful of “no’s”.
But McConnell has repeatedly acknowledged that he expects the next deal to be more controversial.
“What has happened here is that the political environment has deteriorated considerably … We are four months closer to the elections,” he said.