By Jack Phillips
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday said President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan “misses the mark,” while stating that several Democratic senators have told him they don’t support the measure.
“Experts and economists from the left to the right agree any further action should be smart and targeted, not just an imprecise deluge of borrowed money that would direct huge sums to those who don’t need it,” McConnell said on the floor. “That’s why the administration’s first draft of their sprawling proposal misses the mark, and press reports make clear this is not just a Republican view.”
The Kentucky Republican then went on to say that “multiple Democratic senators agree” that the bill shouldn’t be passed. He did not name them.
“Bipartisan action helped our nation endure the last year. Bipartisan action helped us turn the corner. And it will be smart bipartisan actions that help us finish the fight,” he said, while adding that he will vote in favor of Biden’s Treasury Secretary pick Janet Yellen on Monday.
It came after a bipartisan group of senators, including Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), told White House officials Sunday that direct stimulus should only go to those who need it most.
“If we’re looking at a family of five that could have literally $300,000 of income and if that family of five has not lost a job or had any economic hardship and we’re saying we want to give checks to that family, but then cut back on unemployment for people who are in great need, that does not seem to me to be a very progressive outcome,” Warner said, according to WVIR. Another Democrat who has publicly balked at the stimulus package is Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).
“I was the first to raise that issue, but there seemed to be a lot of agreement … that those payments need to be more targeted,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told Politico, referring to the $1,400 stimulus checks that were proposed in the bill. “I would say that it was not clear to me how the administration came up with its $1.9trn figure for the package.”
However, the Democratic senators’ rejections of the stimulus package run counter to statements made by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who said swift action is required.
“The Senate must advance all three in the next few weeks, and we will,” Schumer said in Manhattan on Sunday. “In the next three weeks, we will be doing three things, all of which are very much needed,” the Democrat said, noting that “the stakes are too high to delay any of them.”
Separately, on Sunday, White House economic adviser Brian Deese said the administration will push Congress to pass the $1.9 trillion package, saying it’s needed to avert the COVID-19-triggered economic crisis.
“We can’t wait,” White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre also told Reuters on Sunday. “Just because Washington has been gridlocked before doesn’t mean it needs to continue to be gridlocked.”
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