McConnell Proposes ‘Targeted’ COVID-19 Relief Package, but Dems Say It’s Not Enough

September 8, 2020 by Dan McCue
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, walks to his office from the Senate floor, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday the Senate would vote on a trimmed-down Republican coronavirus relief package, though it’s unlikely to appeal to Democrats who have already passed a much more sweeping package in the House.

The $500 billion package was released as senators returned to Capitol Hill for a brief, pre-election session. The House doesn’t come back until Sept. 14.

McConnell called the package “a targeted proposal that focuses on several of the most urgent aspects of this crisis, the issues where bipartisanship should be especially possible.”

It includes school aid, new money for vaccines and testing, and a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program for smaller businesses.

However, it omits many of the measures Democrats say are necessary, aid to state and local governments, more generous jobless benefits, and help for renters and homeowners.

All of these were included in the $3.5 billion relief bill House Democrats passed in May.

Even if some Democrats came on board for McConnell’s proposal, he still faces opposition within his own party. While Senators in tight races this fall want more aid, many of their GOP colleagues are resisting more spending.

Despite the division among the Republicans, the Senate is expected to vote on the relief bill on Thursday.

Democrats are almost certain to block the measure, which is about half the size of the relief proposal McConnell rolled out two months ago.

“It doesn’t come close to addressing the problems and is headed nowhere,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., in a joint statement.

McConnell’s bill would provide $105 billion to help schools reopen, enact a shield against lawsuits for businesses and others that are powering ahead to reopen, create a scaled-back $300-per-week supplemental jobless benefit, and write off $10 billion in earlier debt at the U.S. Postal Service. There’s $31 billion for a coronavirus vaccine, $16 billion for virus testing and $15 billion to help child care providers reopen. There is additionally $20 billion for farmers.

The package will also include a school choice initiative sought by Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz and others that would provide a tax break, for two years, for people who donate to non-profit organizations offering private school scholarships.

It would also provide for a $258 billion second round of paycheck protection subsidies.

Congress

Select Committee Makes Final Recommendation on How to Fix Congress
Congress
Select Committee Makes Final Recommendation on How to Fix Congress
September 25, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - An 18-month effort to make Congress work better and retain staff more effectively came to an end Thursday, when the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress announced its final list of recommendations. Created by an overwhelming bipartisan vote at the beginning of... Read More

Democrats Push for Climate Change Bills Similar to Biden’s Proposals
Congress
Democrats Push for Climate Change Bills Similar to Biden’s Proposals
September 25, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Congressional Democrats used a hearing on climate change Thursday to advocate for pending clean energy bills that would revamp a big swath of federal regulations. Record-setting wildfires in western states and hurricanes along the Gulf Coast are adding to the fervor for aggressive environmental... Read More

For Democrats, Infrastructure Equals Fighting Climate Change and Creating Jobs
Energy
For Democrats, Infrastructure Equals Fighting Climate Change and Creating Jobs

WASHINGTON — In Democratic politics, and infrastructure and fighting climate change have become increasingly synonymous: You can’t have one without the other. Take the $494 billion surface transportation bill that House Democrats passed July 1. Republicans criticized it as an outgrowth of the Green New Deal.... Read More

House Democrats Drafting $2.4 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Bill
Congress
House Democrats Drafting $2.4 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Bill

WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi has directed House committee leaders to put together a more slender coronavirus relief package than the one that previously passed the chamber, in their latest offer in talks with the White House. The House could vote on that as-yet-unreleased $2.4 trillion... Read More

Report Highlights Series of Proposals to Reverse Capitol Hill Brain Drain
Congress
Report Highlights Series of Proposals to Reverse Capitol Hill Brain Drain
September 24, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - In their recent report of Capitol Hill staffing issues, authors Alexandra Furnas and Timothy LaPira paint a harrowing picture of a culture that basically pushes its best resource -- its people -- to the private sector and away from public service. But Furnas and... Read More

Report: Bad Pay, Long Hours, Lure of Greener Grass, Leads to Capitol Hill Exodus
Congress
Report: Bad Pay, Long Hours, Lure of Greener Grass, Leads to Capitol Hill Exodus
September 24, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Thanks to its woefully low pay and long hours, Capitol Hill is proving to be a "funnel" to lucrative jobs in lobbying, leaving congressional offices in a perpetual state of brain drain, a new report has found. Published by New America, the public policy... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top