Frustrating negotiations over a fifth coronavirus stimulus package have been stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate since May, and now one GOP senator confirms Americans can’t expect any federal relief until after election day.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said the chances of a new stimulus deal being signed before the Nov. 3 general election are remote and is blaming Democrats for this failure. He said there isn’t a very good chance a coronavirus stimulus deal will be signed anytime soon.
Grassley told FOX Business’ Neil Cavuto House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., keeps rejecting funding proposals, making it less likely anything will pass Congress before the November election.
“Here’s how radical the people are controlling the House of Representatives,” Grassley complained. “We have a bipartisan group of 50 people that are really begging to pass something … at $1.5 trillion. She turns that down. So do they want to do something or not?”
Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., also believes “the clock is running out.”
“I don’t see any intention or desire on the part of the Democrat leadership at the moment — regardless of what their members are saying — to cooperate and to work together on a solution,” he said. “I think they feel like they’ve got the issue and they want to try and ride it in November.”
On Tuesday, the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus of 50 lawmakers seeking common solutions to divisive issues endorsed a compromised $1.5 trillion coronavirus rescue plan.
This amount is smaller than the $3.2 trillion proposed by House Democrats in their HEROES Act. It is, however, far larger than the skinny $500 billion package unveiled by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last week. Democrats quickly voted down the bill.
Pelosi rejected the compromised proposal despite some moderate Democrats signing on to the $1.5 trillion rescue package.
The bipartisan plan combines many elements of COVID-19 rescue packages crafted by House Democrats and Senate Republicans controlling the Senate such as a renewal of the lapsed weekly jobless benefit.
Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-SD, a member of the Problem Solvers group, said lengthy, bipartisan negotiation that produced this consensus. The group hopes the package illustrates the kinds of compromises top Democrats and the administration will have to make to get a bill passed and signed into law.
“This is how Congress is supposed to work,” he said.
Time is now the enemy for both Democrats and Republicans. The House will remain in session until Oct. 2 and then break for the national elections, while the Senate will stay on until Oct. 9. The Senate goes back to work Nov. 9 and the House on Nov. 16.