Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on March 12 criticized the coronavirus relief bill presented by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, calling it an “ideological wish list.”
McConnell told the Senate that more limited legislation could be sought as he eyed the house coronavirus relief bill unveiled by House Democrats on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, it appears at this hour that the Speaker and House Democrats instead chose to produce an ideological wish list that was not tailored closely to the circumstances,” McConnell said. “I hope Senate Democrats will not block potential requests from our colleagues today to pass smaller, non-controversial pieces of legislation today.
“One is reminded of the famous comment from President Obamas first chief of staff: You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,'” he added.
House Democrats announced the proposals as emergency legislation in response to the coronavirus outbreak, with measures including expanded unemployment insurance and paid sick leave that were earlier prioritized by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
The proposals were announced at a press conference on Wednesday as the House Democrats and the Trump administration tried to work toward an agreeable economic stimulus package to help Americans through the financial impacts of the virus outbreak.
Pelosi is continuing to hold discussions with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
“Language discussions are continuing,” Pelosis spokesman wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
However, the proposal has not received wide-ranging support, with Republicans raising questions about the support it would receive in the House and its future in the GOP-controlled Senate.
“The country is looking to the government to come together and meet these challenges, but the bill that we saw that just came forth last night at 11 p.m. comes up short,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters at a press conference on Thursday.
McConnell had been urging for bipartisan efforts at passing “smaller, non-controversial pieces of legislation.” But as the day dragged on and no deal emerged from the Pelosi-Mnuchin telephone negotiations, McConnell closed up the Senate for the week, announcing it would return on Monday.
He added the Senate will be delaying its recess and will work next week on a coronavirus relief bill.
He said in a Twitter post that he was glad that the talks between the Trump administration and Pelosi were continuing.
“I hope Congress can pass bipartisan legislation to continue combating the coronavirus and keep our economy strong” he said.
However, he expressed concern that the House Democrats current bill would create new layers of bureaucracy that could cause “massive job losses” at businesses and put “thousands of small businesses at risk.”
BREAKING: Here is the Senate Democrats proposal for targeted new economic and community relief to help states with coronavirus outbreaks: pic.twitter.com/iTJGZm33lM