Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated that the next coronavirus aid package should focus on “concrete steps to strengthen our response to this complex crisis” in an apparent rejection of plans by the Dems to bail out states with hundreds of billions of dollars that could be used to replenish long-underfunded pension plans.
“We cannot get distracted by preexisting partisan wish lists or calls to paper over decades of reckless decisions that had nothing to do with COVID-19,” the Kentucky Republican said in a statement Monday.
McConnell didn’t mention House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or the new Democratic proposal, which the Dems say will rival the $2.2 trillion CARES Act. They also say they want to provide states and local governments with hundreds of billions of dollars to make up for significant economic losses caused by the coronavirus, as the Washington Examiner reported.
Their plan to include hazard pay for grocery store workers, healthcare facilities, and other jobs during the coronavirus, and they also plan to include $25 billion to bail out the U.S. Postal Service’s debt.
Pelosi told MSNBC that Congress should now consider providing minimum basic income in order to extend federal aid beyond the next two months.
All appear to be non-starters with McConnell.
“The American people do not need tangential, left-wing daydreams,” McConnell said in the statement. “They need commonsense steps that move us toward the response, recovery, and future readiness that Americans need and deserve.”
McConnell announced that the Senate will reconvene for legislative business next Monday and would start working on “urgent needs” that include preventing “opportunistic lawsuits” against businesses and healthcare professionals.
“While our nation is asking everyone from front-line healthcare professionals to essential small-business owners to major employers to adapt in new ways and keep serving, a massive tangle of federal and state laws could easily mean their heroic efforts are met with years of endless lawsuits,” McConnell said.
“We cannot let that happen. Our nation is facing the worst pandemic in over a century and potentially the worst economic shock since the Great Depression. Our response must not be slowed, weakened, or exploited to set up the biggest trial lawyer bonanza in history.”
McConnell stated that lawmakers need to expand on legal protections included in previous aid legislation and will include “pro-certainty, pro-growth reforms,” in all future talks on new aid legislation.