"If you say 'May' you are giving the president a slush fund. He can do this, he can grant, he can withhold," Pelosi said on Sunday. Eight months into this pandemic, Trump is still defying and approaching a national testing and tracking strategy with the mindset that if you don't test, you'll have no cases. In a letter to House Democrats on Sunday, Pelosi explained the so-called minor changes: "The White House has removed 55 percent of the language from the Heroes Act for testing, detection and treatment. Particularly disappointing was the removal of measures to combat the disproportionate virus and lethal Impact on color communities. … It is important to note the impact on color community inequality: a Latino child is eight times more likely to be hospitalized than a white child and a black child is five times more likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19. "
McConnell continues to oppose an adequate relief bill after his hideous appearance in the debate with Amy McGrath last week as he giggled and giggled and laughed his way through the discussion of his refusal to act on the crisis since March. He announced on Saturday that the Senate would vote again on a nearly $ 500 billion bill, basically the same messaging bill that failed last week. It includes some money for schools and healthcare, more small business loan capacity, and $ 300 / week of expanded unemployment benefits – half of what the CARES bill provided. It doesn't include any direct payments that the House and Trump have approved. This includes the liability protection that he's insisted on for months so employers can expose workers to the virus without fear of accountability.
McConnell rejects Trump's demands. "He's talking about a lot more than I can sell to my members," McConnell said last week. But he also said out loud that this isn't really about doing anything about the pandemic. It's about giving vulnerable Senate Republicans a voice to point out so they can say they haven't left their constituents entirely. "It was important to show the American people before the election – not after – that we were not in favor of a stalemate, that we were not in favor of doing nothing." Which of course is exactly what he wants: nothing.
On Monday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said McConnell had pledged to him to allow a vote on any deal Pelosi and Mnuchin have reached despite Republican opposition. "McConnell has agreed that he is ready to come up with the bill. […] He will bring it down and actually vote." But Meadows is also undermining Mnuchin and the negotiations, while Mnuchin is leading them far from a trade mission in the Middle East. That makes Meadows poison things here by saying that Pelosi "continues to be very manipulated in their negotiations".
Note that McConnell himself didn't say he would put the bill on the floor. He said Saturday, "If Spokesman Pelosi ever allows the House to reach a bipartisan settlement with the administration, the Senate would of course consider that," which is as far as it has gone. McConnell seems much more committed to a new project: ushering in a profound economic disaster for the likely new administration of Joe Biden / Kamala Harris. That and filling the Supreme Court with extremist ideologues. That's what he wants to put his energy into for the next two weeks: Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation.