By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Will most Americans be getting another stimulus check before the end of the year? Right now it looks doubtful.

Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell says the United States Senate will take up a separate $500-billion stimulus bill on Wednesday. But that’s a package Democrats blocked last month, and may be unlikely to re-consider.

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The Republican measure is well short of the more than $2-trillion relief package Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants. But some Democrats, like Minnesota Congressman Dean Phillips, have been calling on Pelosi to make a deal and accept a smaller package.

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Phillips is a member of the bi-partisan Problem Solvers Caucus, which has backed a $1.5-trillion stimulus compromise. He was a guest on WCCO Sunday Morning.

“We came up with a framework called the March to Common Ground Bi-Partisan COVID Relief Framework. It has been celebrated by Democrats and Republicans, endorsed by our entire caucus of 25 Democrats, 25 Republicans. [Treasury Secretary] Steve Mnuchin … has endorsed it. Even the president has spoken thoughtfully about it. It is a bill that could pass,” Phillips said.

If no deal can be reached, it would be up to the new Congress — which won’t be sworn in until January — to come up with a bill. That would mean no legislation until mid-February, which critics on both sides say would be too late for the millions of Americans struggling in the pandemic.

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Phillips is facing Republican Kendall Qualls in the November election.

Esme Murphy