Stimulus Bill 'Unlikely' to Pass Sunday Night Due to Procedural Hurdles: GOP Senator

Congress continued working furiously on Sunday to pass a stimulus bill for Americans, but two top Republican senators sent mixed signals on whether or not it would get done with just four days until Christmas.

First, one report indicates a bill is unlikely on Sunday. Then, not long after, there was Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stating an official deal was reached on the floor for an almost $900 billion package that's part of a $1.4 trillion spending bill that would avoid a government shutdown.

Republican John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, on Sunday tweeted that "Texans are suffering," and "this is not time for politics or delay for delay's sake and we can't add the stress of another government shutdown to a raging pandemic."

However, in a Reuters story—also on Sunday—Cornyn was quoted, "I think it's doubtful, would be my guess," of a deal struck by midnight. And, according to Clayton Morris of Morning Invest, the Texas senator said passage was "unlikely" due to procedural hurdles.

Senator Cornyn says it's "unlikely" that a stimulus bill will pass tonight. There are too many procedural hurdles.

— Clayton Morris (@ClaytonMorris) December 20, 2020
John Cornyn on Stimulus Bill
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) arrives on Capitol Hill on December 20, 2020 in Washington, DC. Republicans and Democrats in the Senate finally came to an agreement on the coronavirus relief bill and a vote is expected later today. However, Cornyn said passage on Sunday was "unlikely." Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

McConnell on Sunday afternoon tweeted that "Congress has just reached an agreement. We will pass another rescue package ASAP. More help is on the way."

BREAKING: As the American people continue battling the coronavirus this holiday season, they will not be on their own.

Congress has just reached an agreement. We will pass another rescue package ASAP. More help is on the way.

— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) December 20, 2020

Earlier that same day, he said both Democrats and Republicans have worked night and day to reach a deal for COVID-19 relief.

"I think both sides agree: Our around-the-clock negotiations on COVID relief are hours away from completion. Our citizens need this waiting to end. Thousands of Americans are being robbed of their lives every day. Working families are hurting. Let's finally get this done today," McConnell stated.

What's at stake for Americans? How about much-needed relief as the pandemic steams along through its 11th month. Here's what's included in the proposed package:

  • $600 direct payments to individuals
  • $300 per week extra in unemployment benefits
  • $25 billion in rental assistance
  • Small business aid
  • Money for schools

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said a deal might not pass Sunday, as she wants House members to have time to review the verbiage—and dollar amounts.

"I think we're close, we're very close," she explained. "But we want to have members have enough time to review it all."

McConnell also said the deal was close, but added that his chamber should not expect praise for merely doing its job.

"When we get this done, Congress will not deserve any special praise," McConnell said. "When we finalize this measure and pass it, Congress will only have done our job. We will have finally done our duty in getting more relief to those who need it most."

This story was published at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, just a few hours before the deadline to pass the bill.