Pelosi and Schumer ditched the secret COVID-19 stimulus plan they sent direct to Mitch McConnell when they publicly backed the $908 bipartisan package instead

  • Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have given up on a secret COVID-19 stimulus proposal they sent directly to Mitch McConnell.
  • In a joint statement on Wednesday, they said they would instead focus on a $908 billion plan proposed by a bipartisan group of senators.
  • McConnell has rejected both proposals, arguing instead for his slimmed-down bill with limited spending.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer abandoned a secretive COVID-19 stimulus proposal when they publicly backed a $908 billion bipartisan bill. 

The pair had quietly taken a proposal directly to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday night, The Washington Post reported.  

Its details were unclear, with Schumer calling it a "private proposal" which the two leading Congressional Democrats made in the hope of edging closer to an agreement. 

But the idea was dropped when Pelosi and Schumer released a joint statement backing a separate $908 billion plan set out by a bipartisan group on Tuesday. 

"While we made a new offer to Leader McConnell and Leader McCarthy on Monday, in the spirit of compromise we believe the bipartisan framework introduced by Senators yesterday should be used" in future negotiations, they said.

The bipartisan bill is far short of the $2.2 trillion package approved by the Democratic Party, but preserves help for small business, unemployment support, and coronavirus vaccine distribution costs.

However, McConnell has resisted that plan as well. He said Wednesday that the only package that will get President Donald Trump's approval — essentially for enacting the stimulus — is his own.

"I put forward yesterday another proposal reflecting what the President is ready to sign into law," he wrote in a statement Wednesday.

Details of a much leaner plan from McConnell circulated Tuesday, the Post reported. It includes education funding, assistance for small business, and pandemic-related liability protections for businesses. 

However, it doesn't include federal unemployment benefits, instead proposing a one-month program for state benefits and gig workers.

It also does not include a second stimulus check of $1,200 per person, as was distributed in April. 

Congress has little time to agree on how to move forward, as its current session only last a few weeks.

As well as thrashing out a stimulus bill, lawmakers also have to deal with a looming government shutdown, which will kick in on December 11 unless they act to avert it.

Both sides of the house have accused the other of refusing to compromise. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) called McConnell's bill an "insult."

McConnell said on Wednesday that Democrats had until recently presented a "stone wall" to any plans but their own. 

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