UPDATED 6:57 AM PT – Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Congress is working to pass a one-week spending bill in order to avoid a government shutdown. While speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged lawmakers to pass a stimulus bill before leaving for the holiday recess.
The Kentucky Republican said he wants a bill that both sides of the aisle can agree upon. He also stressed any relief bill should include more funds for the Paycheck Protection Program as well as additional assistance to health providers.
“We’re continuing to work on an omnibus appropriation bill and a COVID relief bill,” McConnell stated. “My view, and I think it’s a view shared by literally everybody on both sides of the aisle, we can’t leave without doing a COVID bill..the country needs it.”
The Senate knows all about end-of-year drama, but this time the stakes could not be higher. Americans are struggling under the weight of this pandemic. Democrats need to let Congress do our job & pass more relief.
We have so much common ground. Let's make law. Let's get it done.
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) December 7, 2020
McConnell has been pushing for a targeted relief bill estimated to be around $500 billion with Democrat leaders wanting to pass a roughly $900 billion proposal. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has accused McConnell of trying to sabotage stimulus negotiations.
“Senator McConnell is trying to pull the rug out from beneath the Gang of Eight,” he claimed. “We believe they have been making good progress and they ought to be allowed to move forward because they are the best hope for a bipartisan solution.”
Despite claims made by Democrats, however, McConnell has said he’s willing to set aside liability protections talks for businesses and other institutions until next year. He also stressed the importance of getting things back to normal.
“Let me say this about liability protection…this is a one time liability relief related to a once in 100 year pandemic that kicks in for a period of time and then goes away,” McConnell explained. “We can’t get the economy back to normal if we have an epidemic of lawsuits on the heels of the pandemic.”
Lawmakers will continue to work on their stimulus package in the coming days with more details about the proposal expected to be released later this week.
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