Coronavirus stimulus checks: Is McConnell the real obstacle, not Pelosi?

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Stimulus talks have been ongoing for almost three months now. In the past three months, some have accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of blocking the deal. Now Rep. Rohit Khanna (D-Calif.) claims Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is the one blocking a deal on the coronavirus stimulus package and checks.

Was Pelosi blocking coronavirus stimulus checks?

In May, House Democrats passed the HEROES Act, which cost over $3 trillion. After the negotiations started in late July, Pelosi reduced her demand to a package of about $2.2 trillion. In the meantime, the White House made a few counter offers, the latest being $1.8 trillion.

However, Pelosi rejected all those offers and stayed firm on her demand for a relief package costing $2.2 trillion. Even though many, including some Democrats, wanted Pelosi to accept the $1.8 trillion offer, she argued that it fails to meet the needs of Americans.

Until now, some would say that it was Pelosi who was blocking the stimulus deal. However, on Thursday, McConnell killed President Donald Trump’s plan for a bigger stimulus package.

McConnell said he won’t put the $1.8 trillion offer on the Senate floor, adding that “My members” believe that a targeted relief package is the “best way to go.” The Senate is scheduled to vote on a targeted relief bill costing about $500 billion on Oct. 19.

This targeted bill is similar to the proposal the Senate voted on last month. However, Senate Democrats blocked it, and the same is expected with the new bill as well.

Is McConnell blocking it?

Speaking to MSNBC on Friday, Khanna referred to McConnell as a “problem” when it comes to Republicans and Democrats agreeing on a deal on a coronavirus relief package and checks. Khanna said Trump was wrong about Pelosi blocking the negotiations. Rather, he said that “the problem has been Mitch McConnell.”

Khanna also criticized the White House and McConnell, saying they are “absent” at a time when the American people need them for coronavirus stimulus checks and aid. Khanna lauded Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who is currently representing the White House in the negotiations with Pelosi.

He said that Mnuchin is “trying to negotiate in good faith,” but whenever they make any progress, “McConnell comes out and says he is not even going to put it on the Senate floor. So Mitch McConnell really is the obstacle right now in terms of getting a deal.”

Khanna, who represents one of the most affluent areas of the U.S., said he was moved by the “suffering in district” and that “all of us have a moral obligation to get something done.”

Further, he noted that Pelosi so far has done “admirable” work in negotiating aid for state and local governments and funds for COVID-19 testing. However, Khanna doubts if McConnell will “allow” Pelosi and Mnuchin to strike a deal.