- McConnell blasted the $3.4 trillion Democratic stimulus plan a day after Biden implored Congress to pass it.
- "House Democrats' so-called 'HEROES Act' is so unserious that it was condemned by the Speaker's own moderate Democrats the instant she put it out," the Kentucky Republican wrote in a tweet.
- It's unclear how Republicans and Democrats will bridge the significant divisions that remain as virus cases surge and some states and cities reimpose new lockdowns.
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell fiercely criticized the Democratic stimulus plan on Tuesday, only a day after president-elect Joe Biden pressed Congress to pass it during his first major economic speech.
"House Democrats' so-called "HEROES Act" is so unserious that it was condemned by the Speaker's own moderate Democrats the instant she put it out," the Kentucky Republican wrote in a tweet.
He continued: "Huge tax cuts for rich people in blue states, but no second round of the Paycheck Protection Program? Those are their priorities?"
McConnell is referring to a provision within the measure to waive the $10,000 cap on the state and local tax deduction — better known as SALT — for two years. Experts say the step would largely benefit wealthier taxpayers.
The Senate majority leader's comments come only a day after Biden pressed Congress to approve the $3.4 trillion stimulus plan. It's an expansive one that includes $1,200 direct payments, $600 federal unemployment benefits, significant state aid, as well as added funding for virus testing and tracing.
"Refusal of Democrats, Republicans to cooperate with one another is not due to some mysterious force beyond our control," he said. "It's a conscious decision. If we can decide not to cooperate, we could decide to cooperate."
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Republicans staunchly opposed the plan after House Democrats passed it in May and there's little indication that has changed in the months since. The GOP is calling to pass a slimmer $500 billion relief plan instead which contains assistance for small businesses and health funds. It also includes a lower amount of federal unemployment benefits.
"I think right now that the Democrats would have to come a long way back to reality with us to get a bill," Senate Appropriations chair Richard Shelby told reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday.
It's unclear how both parties will bridge these significant divisions before Congress adjourns next month. McConnell is playing a larger role in crafting the next stimulus bill with Trump taking a backseat. Democrats and Republicans are digging in on their priorities.
Economists are imploring lawmakers to approve another stimulus package to keep struggling individuals and businesses afloat, especially as virus cases surge. Some states and cities are reimposing lockdowns to derail the pathogen's quick spread.
Lawmakers are also focusing on must-pass spending bills to keep government agencies funded for the next fiscal year. They need to be approved by December 11 to avert a government shutdown.
"The Speaker would like to do that. I would like to do that," McConnell said on Tuesday. "Hopefully that will be the view of the administration as well."
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