McConnell discusses stimulus bill, Barrett confirmation

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate will take up a new stimulus bill, if the White House and Democrats can reach a deal and the House of Representatives passes it.

In the meantime, he is putting forward his own smaller relief package, and plans to move forward with the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court justice.

“We think more needs to be done,” McConnell said. “I’m going to actually put on the Senate floor today a proposal all but one of my Republican colleagues think would be helpful. I don’t expect the Democrats to support it, but we think additional aid is needed, and needed now.”

McConnell’s plan to provide more money for unemployment benefits, the Paycheck Protection Program and educational assistance.

But coming in at less than $500 million, it would provide no additional cash assistance to Americans. Democrats have disparaged McConnell’s plan as a “skinny stimulus,” compared to their own roughly $2 trillion proposal.

“The one that I’m putting on the floor is about a half a trillion dollars,” McConnell said. “We used to think that was a lot of money. The Speaker calls that a ‘skinny bill.’ A half a trillion dollars is a heck of a lot of money and would do an awful lot of good to help Americans right now, including, by the way, continued propping up of unemployment benefits because unemployment is a whole lot higher than we would like.”

McConnell disputed reports that he had asked the White House not to reach a deal with Democrats. But he did not commit to passing a stimulus bill before Election Day.

“Well, it depends on how quickly they reach a deal,” McConnell said. “The election is a week from next Tuesday. But if there’s an announcement of a deal, I think that would be welcomed by the public. Whether it’s actually passed the House and Senate yet and been signed into law is another matter. But if there’s an announcement of a deal, I think that would something that throughout the country would be widely applauded.”

As for the nomination of Judge Barrett, McConnell says her confirmation is all but a done deal.

“We’re going to confirm the Supreme Court justice next Monday,” McConnell said. “She’ll go to the floor the day after tomorrow and will be on that nomination through the weekend, and we’ll confirm her on Monday. We have the votes to confirm her, and she’s going to be an outstanding member of the U.S. Supreme Court. A stunning background, academically a great lawyer, and a wonderful family to boot. She’s everything America would like to see in a Supreme Court justice.”