Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Democrats’ opposition to the newest Senate coronavirus relief plan is “completely unhinged” and that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi might be trying to “sabotage” negotiations.
“Our nation needs to smartly and safely re-open while keeping up the medical battle. We need to get kids safely back to school and adults safely back to work without losing ground in the healthcare fight,” the Kentucky Republican said Wednesday.
“The coronavirus does not care that we are divided. The coronavirus will not care if Washington Democrats decide it suits their partisan goals to let relief run dry.”
He added, “The American people are hurting, and Congress should have their backs.”
McConnell made his remarks on the Senate floor after proposing the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools Act on Monday. The comments came just days before many Americans will lose their enhanced unemployment benefits from the federal government.
The HEALS Act is a $1 trillion proposal that would give qualified individuals another stimulus check, renew unemployment benefits at a reduced rate, and provide money for schools to reopen for in-person instruction.
“This is a more-than-fair, more-than-bipartisan framework for Democrats to engage with,” McConnell said.
The Senate majority leader said it has been reported that Pelosi won’t let the bill go forward unless more unemployment benefits continue to be paid out.
“That’s what Speaker Pelosi apparently signaled yesterday: No money for schools, no money for households, no second round of the PPP, no more money for hospitals or testing, nothing at all unless we continue to pay people more not to work,” McConnell said. “To put it gently, that is a completely unhinged position.”
“The only reason I can see that Speaker Pelosi and the [Senate] Democratic leader would sabotage negotiations is if, as some concluded when they killed police reform in June, they actually think bipartisan progress for the country would hurt their own political chances,” McConnell added.
Senate Republicans introduced a police reform proposal, but it didn’t receive enough support from Senate Democrats, who said it didn’t go far enough, Fox News reported.
House Democrats also put forward their own police reform proposal, but it didn’t get picked up by the Senate, which said it went too far.
Now the issue is at an impasse, with Democrats seemingly waiting until after November. But for most Americans, waiting until then isn’t an option for coronavirus relief.
Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, have written off the Senate coronavirus relief proposal, with Pelosi saying it “isn’t serious.”
“We are somewhat frustrated. We had hoped there would be a bill, and instead in the Senate they’ve put little pieces here and there and everywhere. It’s pretty clear they don’t have 51 votes in the Senate for a proposal,” Schumer said, according to The Hill.
“We hope they can get their act together,” he added. “We very much want to get something done for the needs of the people and the needs of the country.”
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