Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., warned the White House not to cut a deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before the election, The Washington Post reports.
McConnell told colleagues at a Senate GOP lunch on Tuesday that Pelosi was “not negotiating in good faith” with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and expressed concern that any deal could disrupt Republicans’ plans to confirm Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
Senate Republicans have individually criticized the White House talks as well, warning that a deal could “splinter the party and exacerbate divisions,” according to the Post.
McConnell previously told reporters that he would put a potential deal to a vote “at some point” but did not commit to doing so before the election.
Deal inches forward:
McConnell’s comments came as Pelosi and Mnuchin inched forward on a deal.
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill told the Post that Tuesday’s negotiations “provided more clarity and common ground as they move closer to an agreement.”
McConnell has not been part of the negotiations and has been clear that he opposes any bill that would cost more than $1 trillion.
The current deal would provide another round of $1,200 stimulus payments, federal unemployment benefits, aid to small businesses, funds for coronavirus testing, and aid to hospitals and airlines.
Pelosi says she wants a deal:
Unlike McConnell, Pelosi has repeatedly insisted that she wants to get a deal done as soon as the end of the week.
“I hope so. That’s the plan. That’s what I would hope. That’s the hope, let me say that,” she said.
“On several open questions, the Speaker and the Secretary called for the committee chairs to work to resolve differences about funding levels and language,” Hammill added. “With this guidance, the two principals will continue their discussions [Wednesday] afternoon upon the Secretary’s return.”
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said the two sides had made “good progress” but were still “several hundred billion” apart.
“I want to stress: We’re not just down to a difference of language and a few dollars. We still have a ways to go,” Meadows said. “But I would say the conversations today were productive enough to have conversations tomorrow.”