WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House of Representatives Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Thursday he is more optimistic that a coronavirus relief bill can get done in Congress now that the national election is over.
“The election is over so I’m more optimistic now that we can get something done,” McCarthy, whose party is in the minority in the House, told reporters.
For months, Democrats and Republicans have disagreed over the size and scope of new coronavirus aid that would build on more than $3 trillion worth approved early this year.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is also a Republican, said earlier Thursday said there was some positive movement in efforts to reach a compromise.
McCarthy said he was aware of a roughly $908 billion compromise proposal that has been made by Republicans and Democrats.
But McCarthy said he believed a less expensive proposal backed by McConnell — which is along the lines of a previous $500 billion Republican plan — was the “starting point and where we’ll probably end up.”
“We want to get a bill done, at the same time we’ve been trying to talk to the Speaker,” McCarthy said of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat. “I think she’s becoming more open than she has in the past.”
(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Alistair Bell)