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McConnell Reportedly Warns White House Against COVID Relief Deal before Election; WH Chief of Staff Denies

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters after the Senate Republican luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., September 9 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) warned the Trump administration on Tuesday against making a deal on a coronavirus relief bill with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) before the November elections.

Speaking to Senate Republicans at a GOP lunch, McConnell told colleagues that he believes Pelosi is not negotiating a deal in good faith, the Washington Post reported. While Pelosi has pushed for a relief bill worth roughly $2 trillion, Senate Republicans are divided on the price tag of proposed legislation, with many aiming to keep the bill under $1 trillion.

President Trump, meanwhile, has pushed Republicans to match the price tag of Pelosi’s proposal.

Republicans are worried that ramming a relief bill through the Senate would exacerbate divisions within the party, at a time when Republicans are attempting to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, the New York Times reported.

However, White House chief-of-staff Mark Meadows denied the Post‘s report on Wednesday morning, telling reporters that McConnell had not cautioned the Trump administration against a deal. Meadows said the administration was still negotiating the details of aid to state and local governments, and that a deal could be reached within the next 48 hours.

Negotiations over a new round of aid for coronavirus have been deadlocked for weeks, even as Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell has called for Congress to authorize greater economic aid.

“Too little support would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses,” Powell said at a conference held by the National Association for Business Economics earlier this month. “Over time, household insolvencies and business bankruptcies would rise, harming the productive capacity of the economy, and holding back wage growth.”

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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