Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said his first priority is passing a new COVID-19 stimulus bill before the end of the year, CNBC reports.
The Senate is scheduled to reconvene next week, and McConnell, who just won his re-election bid for a seventh six-year term, said the relief bill would be the “chief focus” when the Senate comes back. The Kentucky Republican added that the bill could include state and local relief, which has been a consistent demand of Democrats in their discussion with the White House.
McConnell, in a statement, said he hoped the finishing of the election would change how things had been going, and that hopefully a “more cooperative situation” would arise.
“Hopefully, the partisan passions that prevented us from doing another rescue package will subside with the election,” he said, according to CNBC. “And I think we need to do it and I think we need to do it before the end of the year.”
Republicans were looking to retain most of their Senate seats as of Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 4), though there were still votes being counted due to the surge in mail-in ballots because of the coronavirus pandemic. Democrats obtained a seat in Colorado and looked on Wednesday to be leading in Arizona, though the Senate isn’t likely to flip. Democrats will, however, likely keep their lead in the House of Representatives.
Meanwhile, the U.S. reported another 91,500 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday (Nov. 3), the second highest single-day rate according to Johns Hopkins data. The disease caused by the coronavirus has now killed over 230,000 Americans.
The Senate headed into recess without any stimulus passed weeks ago, after months of contention between the Democrats and Republicans on what would be included. The Democrats indicated headway was being made in the talks, though nothing got done before Tuesday’s election. But only 17 percent of small businesses surveyed by PYMNTS said things had gotten better, while 38 percent said things remained unchanged.