“We are obviously not in session this week, but when my members come back next week, we will start contacting them, discussing them with the Democrats and starting the legislative process,”
The GOP measure, which is being actively discussed by McConnell, White House officials, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and key GOP chairpersons of the Senate, is designed to help businesses, hospitals, and schools boost the economy as millions of people are still unemployed. But even before it is introduced, there is an outcry from Democrats who claim that the measure is far less extensive than necessary and should include measures that their party will not accept.
On Monday, McConnell repeated his call for protection for “everyone related to the coronavirus” – whether doctors, nurses, businesses, K-12 schools, and colleges – for the period from December 2019 to December 2024.
“It must, must, no law will pass the Senate without liability for anyone dealing with the coronavirus,” McConnell told Kentucky reporters. “Nobody should face an epidemic of post-pandemic litigation that we already had with the corona virus.”
Democratic leaders have already suggested that such a plan is a sticking point.
“Let’s hear what everyone has to say,” House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said last week. “But don’t say: ‘You all have to work again, even if it’s not safe. By the way, we remove all responsibility from the employer.’ I mean, that’s just – no. “
Instead, Pelosi called for a regulation from the Federal Agency for Safety and Health at Work, which aims to protect workers at risk of exposure to the virus. This idea was previously rejected by the Republicans.
And since the White House called for schools to reopen in the fall, Republicans are discussing making federal aid dependent on the steps that school districts are taking to reopen. GOP sources said on Monday that the language is still being sorted out and the details are not final how this would work. However, they are considering a number of options, including withholding funds for schools that remain closed.
“As I said, I think the president would be willing to consider additional funding if all of these schools reopened,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox News Monday.
Democrats pushed the idea back.
“You just have to accidentally open schools and take your risk, or you won’t get any state aid? I mean, that’s absolutely no,” said Washington Senator Patty Murray, the top Senate health, education, labor democrat and The Pension Committee announced to CNN last week.
In addition, both sides are very divided about how much incentive is actually needed for the economy.
“We need to extend unemployment insurance,” said Pelosi over the weekend. “It expires at the end of July. And then there are direct payments to people, so we have $ 6,000 for a family of five. People need it urgently.”
Republicans were wary of expanding $ 600 unemployment insurance and warned that the extra money could be a deterrent to job seekers.
Republican Senator Tim Scott from South Carolina reiterated his rejection of the extension on Monday.
“I was not for the last time. This time I am not for it,” he said of the improved unemployment benefits.
When asked about the House of Representatives minority Kevin McCarthy last month, he said he didn’t think it was “productive to extend the federal government’s extra money.”
Top Republicans have expressed some openness to more direct payments, but with stricter restrictions on who will receive them.
“Back to school poses the greatest risk of coronavirus spread,” Pelosi said in CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday when the government pushed to reopen schools.
T.His story was updated on Monday with further developments.