Some Republican senators and aides are privately complaining that McConnell waited too long to develop a GOP alternative to the Democrats’ nearly $3.5 trillion-plus HEROES Act that the House passed two months ago, especially since federal unemployment benefits and an eviction moratorium expired at the end of July.
But McConnell and other GOP leaders maintain they needed to see how the implementation of the March $2 trillion CARES Act unfolded before deciding a new proposal was even needed or how it should be structured. And more than $1 trillion remained unspent by late July, according to the Office of Management and Budget.
“With regard to the ‘waiting-too-long’ argument — if Schumer and I were sitting there and Pelosi and I were sitting there, it would be trading talking points, which is not constructive,” McConnell said.
“Honestly I don’t think our members were ready to move on a bill, and Mitch was listening carefully to the conference, and listening carefully to state and community leaders and folks around the country,” added Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.). “The decision to move was timed right.”