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Senate GOP to try again to overcome Democratic filibuster of COVID relief

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., meets with Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, POOL)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., meets with Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, POOL)

“Democrats have spent months blocking policies they do not even oppose.' Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Posted: Oct 13, 2020 5:34 PM
Updated: Oct 13, 2020 5:40 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he's scheduling a procedural vote on a GOP COVID-19 relief bill next week, saying aid to hard-hit businesses shouldn't be held up by gridlock involving other aid proposals.

The Kentucky Republican says the first item of Senate business when the chamber returns next Monday will be a procedural vote on a scaled-back aid bill. Democrats filibustered a GOP-drafted aid bill last month and recent talks on a larger deal between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., fell apart this past weekend, probably for good.

“Democrats have spent months blocking policies they do not even oppose. They say anything short of their multi-trillion-dollar wish list, jammed with non-COVID-related demands, is ‘piecemeal' and not worth doing," McConnell said in a statement. “And she has worked hard to ensure that nothing is what American families get."

McConnell's move appears unlikely to work. The COVID relief debate appears to have gone back to a phase in which the participants have largely given up and are devoting time and effort to political positioning ahead of the election rather than negotiations and compromise.

President Donald Trump continues to agitate for “stimulus," saying that Capitol Hill Republicans should “go big" rather than the limited approach they've been advocating.

Opinion polls show that additional coronavirus relief is a higher priority for most voters than quickly approving Trump's nomination of Appeals Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. While many Republicans take a skeptical view of the need for more virus relief like special unemployment benefits or direct payments to most taxpayers, some GOP senators in difficult re-election races are eager for more aid.

Under Senate rules, McConnell can call for a re-vote on the September legislation, which was filibustered by Democrats as insufficient. It also doesn't satisfy Trump, in part because it did not provide for another round of $1,200 direct payments that would go out under his name.

McConnell could also modify the earlier GOP bill.

For her part, Pelosi issued a statement again criticizing Trump for caring chiefly about the direct payments.

“A fly on the wall or wherever else it might land in the Oval Office tells me that the President only wants his name on a check to go out before Election Day and for the market to go up," Pelosi said in a letter to her colleagues.

She defended her hardline position on a Tuesday conference call with fellow Democrats, claiming Democrats have more leverage than ever. But the risk of emerging empty-handed until next year appears very real.

To recap, talks on the latest potential round of COVID relief began in July, collapsed in August, and were revived last month. Last week alone saw Trump cause the talks to collapse on Tuesday, only to revive them heading into the weekend. They then cratered again on Saturday after Trump's latest $1.8 trillion proposal took heavy fire from both Democrats and Trump's GOP allies.

Republicans are back to offering smaller, targeted aid that would permit endangered party members to again go on record in favor of aid, even if it's a nonstarter with Democrats and opposed by Trump.

“What I hear from Sen. McConnell is once again take a little piece and be satisfied. What I hear from the president just the opposite," said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. “Can the two of them sit down and agree? Wouldn’t that be a breakthrough?”

Some Democrats are convinced that Joe Biden is poised to reclaim the White House and have been pressuring Pelosi to strike a less ambitious deal that would deliver aid now rather than letting the economy to continue to struggle without help until next year. Pelosi's response was to gather statements from a host of committee chairmen criticizing the administration's latest offer.

“If Congress doesn’t act, the next president will inherit a real mess," said Harvard economist Jason Furman, a former top adviser to President Barack Obama. “If the Mnuchin offer could be passed by the Senate — which is a huge “if" — that would be a lot better than waiting to get even more in January."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 318763

Reported Deaths: 3652
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin673361116
Ramsey28256505
Anoka22583228
Dakota22414190
Washington14207116
Stearns13976117
St. Louis8991112
Scott859755
Wright795543
Olmsted681134
Sherburne601541
Clay508957
Carver486215
Kandiyohi420522
Rice419237
Blue Earth418016
Crow Wing364034
Otter Tail321723
Chisago315612
Nobles309930
Benton305751
Winona284830
Douglas266837
Mower265823
Polk261224
Morrison233829
Lyon223011
Beltrami219218
McLeod217914
Becker209416
Goodhue208428
Steele19917
Isanti194217
Itasca193923
Carlton191316
Todd182514
Nicollet164026
Mille Lacs157031
Freeborn15546
Le Sueur148811
Cass146010
Brown145715
Waseca139811
Pine13958
Meeker13289
Roseau12194
Martin117420
Hubbard115725
Wabasha10781
Redwood97919
Chippewa9147
Cottonwood8964
Renville89529
Dodge8700
Watonwan8634
Wadena8156
Sibley8004
Rock7889
Aitkin77830
Pipestone74118
Fillmore7240
Houston7134
Yellow Medicine66512
Pennington6638
Kanabec62713
Swift5998
Murray5953
Faribault5732
Pope5531
Clearwater5268
Stevens5243
Marshall5059
Jackson4961
Lake4326
Koochiching3996
Wilkin3925
Lac qui Parle3863
Unassigned38559
Lincoln3651
Norman3537
Big Stone3242
Mahnomen3044
Grant2806
Kittson2298
Red Lake2163
Traverse1491
Lake of the Woods1011
Cook770

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 229327

Reported Deaths: 2395
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk33896336
Linn14340166
Scott1132587
Black Hawk10968137
Woodbury10428129
Johnson964137
Dubuque927491
Story684522
Pottawattamie644070
Dallas641757
Sioux372725
Webster363936
Cerro Gordo359046
Marshall351246
Clinton333844
Buena Vista307314
Muscatine293469
Des Moines291620
Warren283214
Plymouth277142
Wapello257372
Jones233615
Jasper224344
Marion206821
Lee205017
Carroll199922
Bremer196712
Henry18417
Crawford176916
Benton171821
Tama154940
Jackson146513
Washington146215
Delaware144921
Dickinson140311
Boone138311
Mahaska127927
Wright12706
Clay11924
Buchanan118510
Hardin116510
Page11524
Hamilton11429
Clayton11238
Cedar109313
Harrison108630
Kossuth10847
Calhoun10757
Mills10647
Floyd106216
Fayette105610
Lyon10538
Butler10266
Poweshiek99713
Winneshiek98413
Iowa97612
Winnebago93124
Cherokee9014
Hancock8737
Sac8738
Grundy87111
Louisa86818
Chickasaw8664
Allamakee82811
Cass81823
Mitchell8035
Appanoose79912
Humboldt7855
Union7796
Shelby77311
Emmet76824
Guthrie76315
Franklin74321
Jefferson7252
Unassigned6950
Madison6924
Palo Alto6574
Keokuk6157
Pocahontas5644
Howard5619
Osceola5341
Greene5310
Ida50013
Clarke4904
Davis4739
Montgomery47011
Taylor4673
Monroe44712
Adair4418
Monona4402
Worth3690
Fremont3663
Van Buren3615
Lucas3296
Decatur3200
Wayne3027
Audubon3002
Ringgold2202
Adams1712
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