Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pushed Democrats and the White House to restart coronavirus relief talks over aid stalled again late last week as millions scramble to cover bills, The Hill reports.
McConnell told Fox News on Tuesday it was “time for everybody to get back to the table,” though he gave no indication he would reach out to Democratic leaders himself.
“The stalemate needs to be ended. It doesn’t make any difference who says let’s get together again, but we ought to get together again,” McConnell said, adding negotiations were currently at an “impasse.”
“There hasn’t been a meeting of any consequences between the two parties since last Friday,” McConnell said. “That’s too long, and it’s time to sit down and get a deal done.”
Negotiations collapsed on Friday and showed no sign of an agreement after nearly two weeks of closed-door talks between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
White House officials recommended that President Trump move ahead without Congress to try to address unemployment benefits, eviction rules, and student loan relief.
McConnell was not in the room for the days of talks, however. Meadows and Mnuchin briefed the GOP leader regularly about the closed-door negotiations.
Congressional Democrats and the White House negotiators haven’t spoken since Friday. Pelosi told reporters on Tuesday that she had not heard from Mnuchin or Meadows.
“Our differences are vast,” she said.
Asked if we should expect any updates this week, Pelosi added: “I hope so, we’ll see.”
Mnuchin and Meadows briefed Senate Republicans on Tuesday morning and gave GOP senators no indication as to when they would resume talks.
Schumer and Pelosi reportedly offered to cut $1 trillion from their $3.4 trillion top-line figure if the administration agreed to add $1 trillion to its package. That would have put them in the range of a final agreement between $2 trillion and $2.4 trillion, The Hill reported.
Mnuchin called the figure a “nonstarter.”
According to The Hill, McConnell on Tuesday called for Democrats to drop their demand for $1 trillion in additional aid for state and local governments.
“Take that off the table and let’s get this assistance directly to the people who need it,” McConnell said.