Mitch McConnell Blames Stimulus Delay on Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer After Letter Urges Talks

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) reiterated his stance that Democrats are to blame for stimulus deal delay after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sought further talks with him.

The Democrat figureheads sent a letter to McConnell on Tuesday, urging him to negotiate with them this week in order to facilitate a bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill amid the ongoing pandemic.

Following this message, McConnell indicated that his stance remains that a "targeted rescue package" should be passed—bemoaning Democrats for having rejected the prospect of slimmed down measures.

"Republicans have tried for weeks to pass another targeted rescue package. It would send hundreds of billions of dollars to schools, unemployment aid, another round of the job-saving PPP, and healthcare," he tweeted.

"Democrats repeatedly blocked it all. Let's hope they let us make law soon."

In separate tweets he criticized what he called a "fixation on a massive slush fund" for state and city governments, which he said was "unlinked from COVID need." He also hit out at what he deemed "huge tax cuts for rich people in blue states," while complaining Democrat proposals proposed no second round of the Paycheck Protection program.

He questioned the Democrats' stances, adding: "Those are their priorities?"

It is approaching eight months—in which COVID-19 cases have continued to mount nationwide—since the last such package, the CARES Act, was signed by President Donald Trump.

A Democrat-led package, the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act, passed the House of Representatives in May before an updated version—marking a reduction on topline spend to $2.2 trillion—also passed in October.

However, such plans have been met with pushback from the GOP-controlled Senate—with Republican leadership in the upper chamber pushing for a tighter bill with a lower overall cost.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, arrives for the weekly Senate Republican lunch on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on November 10. He has criticized Democrats' stance on stimulus, having been asked to partake in further talks. Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Republican proposals have also failed to gain traction, though, with no alternative GOP package having been passed in the Senate.

In their letter to McConnell, Pelosi and Schumer spoke of having come down from their original position on cost—then questioned the Republican for going lower still with pitches despite them having shifted in a direction closer to the GOP's stance.

Calling for further discussions, the pair wrote: "The COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession will not end without our help. It is essential that this bill have sufficient funding and delivers meaningful relief to the many Americans who are suffering.

"For the sake of the country, we ask that you come to the table and work with us to produce an agreement that meets America's needs in this critical time."

Outlining their desire for McConnell to shift his stance on spend, they wrote: "Earlier this year during negotiations with Secretary Mnuchin and Chief of Staff Meadows, we agreed to compromise on a relief package and lowered our request by $1.2 trillion. Since that time, you have lowered your proposal from $1 trillion to $500 billion, despite the consensus from economists and experts that the country requires a much larger injection of aid."

Within this, they spoke of further aid for "schools, small businesses, and individuals where the virus has torn through communities and left many stranded without help."

"Hospitals need more support to help save those who are sick and state and local governments need funding for essential workers and to distribute vaccines. Millions of unemployed Americans and those facing eviction and hunger demand action from their leaders," they added. "The time to act is upon us like never before."

Newsweek has contacted McConnell, Pelosi and Schumer for further comment.

The delay on stimulus comes with the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. throughout the pandemic having surpassed 11 million, according to Johns Hopkins University figures.

The below graphic, from Statista, shows the nations with the most confirmed cases nationwide as of November 16.

covid world cases
Statista