Most voters want virus relief. McConnell tells them to get lost


Voters also say the winner of the November election should nominate the next Supreme Court justice.

A Hill-HarrisX poll conducted Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 and released Monday night found 74% of registered voters want the Senate to prioritize passing more coronavirus relief over confirming Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is ignoring the will of the overwhelming majority of voters in refusing to pass coronavirus aid and instead moving to ram through the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett before the Nov. 3 election.

That move in itself is also unpopular, as polls show voters want a replacement for the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to be chosen by the winner of the election.

McConnell has delayed the return of the Senate for two weeks because three GOP senators have tested positive for the coronavirus. Two of those senators — Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina — tested positive for the virus after attending Trump's White House announcement of Barrett as his Supreme Court pick.

That event appears to have been a coronavirus superspreader, with at least seven people who attended that event, including Trump and the first lady, contracting the virus, according to a tally by the American Independent Foundation.

Because the Senate is not in session due to the outbreak, it will hold a virtual hearing for Barrett on Oct. 12, which will set her up for a full vote on the Senate floor before the Nov. 3 election.

While McConnell prioritizes Barrett over helping the millions of Americans currently unemployed and struggling to find work amid the coronavirus-fueled economic depression, the House of Representatives has voted numerous times to pass generous coronavirus relief for laid-off workers.

House Democrats first voted May 15 to extend a weekly $600 unemployment insurance boost through the end of the year and authorized more direct $1,200 payments to workers earning under a certain income threshold, aid for essential workers, and funding for state and local governments facing budget shortfalls due to the virus' economic impact.

Senate Republicans let those $600 weekly payments expire back in July, and have demanded that aid for workers be less generous.

House Democrats passed another relief bill last week that is similar to the one they passed in May. But not a single House Republican voted for it, with McConnell calling the bill "outlandish" — making it unlikely the bill will ever become law as long as McConnell is majority leader and controls what the Senate votes on.

Meanwhile, recent data shows the coronavirus economic recovery is stalling out, with job gains slowing and permanent layoffs increasing.

The New York Times reports that, as of the end of September, the United States economy had 11 million fewer jobs than it did before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.