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Trump Backs Republican COVID-19 Package After McConnell Rejects Bipartisan Proposal

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President Donald Trump would sign a Senate Republican coronavirus relief measure, a White House official said on Wednesday, though it was unclear it would have the votes to pass the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Trump supported a proposal put forth by Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after he rejected on Tuesday a $908 billion bipartisan package.

McConnell’s outline is very close to the legislation that the Senate leader has been touting for months and was rejected by Democrats, according to one Senate Republican source. The plan includes $332.7 billion in new loans or grants to small businesses, according to a document provided to Reuters.

“The president will sign the McConnell proposal that he put forward yesterday. We look forward to making progress on that,” Mnuchin told reporters on Capitol Hill.

Mnuchin spoke a day after he and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows addressed COVID-19 relief with McConnell and House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy in a private discussion that focused on measures that Trump could be expected to sign into law.

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McConnell, who has been pushing a $500 billion approach that Democrats reject, began circulating new draft legislation on Tuesday after a group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers unveiled a $908 billion bipartisan package.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer cast doubt on the proposal’s future, saying that McConnell had not sought support from Democrats, who control the U.S. House.

“The obvious fact of the matter is the biggest impediment to getting an agreement is the Republican leader refusing to negotiate in a bipartisan way,” Schumer told reporters on Tuesday.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Sandra Maler and Alistair Bell)

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