Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed Democratic leaders on Wednesday for moving “one inch in eight days” on coronavirus relief negotiations, but Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded by calling the comments “potshots.”
“Speaker Pelosi herself called this crisis a wonderful opportunity, and it’s clear they view it that way because while Americans are struggling, the Democratic leaders have moved about one inch in eight days,” McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor. “For the sake of the millions and millions who need more help, let’s hope they decide to get serious soon.”
Republicans have accused Democrats of playing politics by not accepting their offers to extend the extra $600-a-week federal unemployment benefits in the short-term while both sides hammer out a new relief package. Now McConnell may be open to even more of a compromise.
Schumer, D-N.Y., however, accused McConnell of bowing out of relief negotiations and letting the administration take the wheel.
“The Republican leader has decided that he would rather just lob partisan potshots from the floor each morning rather than join in productive negotiations,” Schumer said. “It is difficult to listen to the Republican leader spin such a malicious fiction about why Congress has yet to pass another round of relief when he can’t even sit in the room with us and negotiate.”
House Democrats want to keep the federal unemployment benefit enhancements at a higher level than Republicans have previously supported. McConnell complained on Wednesday that Americans receiving unemployment could theoretically make more than essential workers because the $600 benefit is so high.
The Democrats also want to send $1 trillion to state and local governments to help combat the virus, but that’s “something we’re not going to do,” Mnuchin said on Sunday.