Mitch McConnell is refusing to put desperately needed virus relief up for a vote.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday said he will not accept the compromises a group of bipartisan senators reached on coronavirus aid, objecting to the inclusion of state and local aid in the proposed relief bill.
The Kentucky Republican called the proposed $160 billion in state and local aid "controversial state bailouts" and said that the inclusion of those funds — which economists say are necessary to stave off disaster as the economic recovery stalls — will not pass the GOP-controlled Senate.
McConnell has been holding up passage of coronavirus aid for months, allowing added unemployment benefits for jobless workers to expire this summer. If Congress doesn't act, 12 million workers currently receiving unemployment benefits will lose that critical lifeline just after Christmas.
The Democratic-run House has passed multiple coronavirus relief bills, which restarted the added unemployment benefits and authorized a new round of direct payments to Americans earning below a certain income threshold.
Yet McConnell has refused to put those bills up for a vote.
Now, he's torpedoed a compromise bill amid a massive spike in coronavirus cases and a slowing recovery, with fewer jobs being created and more workers applying for unemployment benefits. A report from the Economic Policy Institute says that without more virus aid, "millions more jobs will be lost."
"Mitch McConnell is blocking bipartisan aid. Any characterization of this situation as 'Congress at an impasse' is a lie. There is a bipartisan, bicameral agreement. The President even wants something. The problem is McConnell. He’s blocking the deal," Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) tweeted.
Democratic leaders also condemned McConnell's refusal to pass the bipartisan compromise.
"Nearly 292,000 Americans lost their lives in combat in World War II. As of today, the coronavirus has now killed more Americans than that deadly war. Congressional Republicans and the Trump Admin must end their deadly obstruction and join us to pass a real relief bill now," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted Thursday night.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.