McCarthy says he and McConnell both support $600 stimulus checks

The Republican leaders are fine with those checks being for half the amount they were over six months ago.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday he and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell both support stimulus checks for Americans for $600 in the current coronavirus relief package under discussion in Congress. 

McCarthy told Axios that he and McConnell committed to the lowered amount during a Tuesday afternoon conference call with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy leaves a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer at the U.S. Capitol last month. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

One sticking point on passing the $916 billion plan is liability protection for businesses, schools and universities to prevent them from being sued if someone gets coronavirus in the scope of their work or education. 

Republicans are also against aid for state and local governments. 

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“We won’t move state without liability,” McCarthy told Axios. “So they’re either in it together or we drop both.”

He added that President Donald Trump agrees with that sentiment and said he thinks the White House’s proposal “is something that everyone can support.”

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Tuesday’s discussion was rejected by Senate and House Democrats, who say the package is inadequate. 

“While it is progress that Leader McConnell has signed off on a $916 billion offer that is based off of the bipartisan framework, the President’s proposal must not be allowed to obstruct the bipartisan Congressional talks that are underway. Members of the House and Senate have been engaged in good-faith negotiations and continue to make progress. The bipartisan talks are the best hope for a bipartisan solution,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement.

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The Republican proposal also cuts unemployment insurance. 

“The President’s proposal starts by cutting the unemployment insurance proposal being discussed by bipartisan Members of the House and Senate from $180 billion to $40 billion. That is unacceptable,” the statement maintains. 

The $600 is half of what Americans received in April, more than six months ago. 

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Both Republicans and Democrats are under pressure from citizens feeling the pressure as a continuing coronavirus surge and subsequent additional industry shutdowns put more Americans out of work. 

According to a White House statement, “While the amount is yet to be determined, direct payments to American workers continue to be a high priority of the president’s.”

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