McConnell threatens to block COVID-19 relief again

It’s been 208 days since the House passed the $3 trillion HEROES Act, and 70 days since the House passed their compromise $2.2 trillion bill, both of which McConnell has refused to consider. More than a week ago, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer offered major concessions to accept a bipartisan effort with far less than necessary spending to move a relief bill.

McConnell has, once again, torpedoed that effort, having his staff inform other members of leadership that “the bipartisan coronavirus negotiators will be unlikely to satisfy Senate Republicans.” That’s code for “McConnell won’t let it on the floor.” It would pass, with enough Republicans—the ones negotiating the damned thing—to join Democrats to get at least some help out to people before the end of the year.

It’s unclear now where those talks will go after McConnell’s sabotage. As of Wednesday, they were moving forward with Congress giving itself a week of breathing room with a (what else) one-week continuing resolution spending bill to keep the government funded past Friday’s deadline, which the coronavirus stimulus bill is supposed to be attached to. The new deadline for funding running out is next Friday, Dec. 18. Leadership keeps insisting that spending bill will be not just another continuing resolution, but an actual omnibus bill that would take the government through the remainder of the fiscal year.

“We are still working together on this,” Sen, Lisa Murkowski, one of the Republicans involved in the talks, said Wednesday. “The possibilities are there to resolve this and to resolve this in a way that makes sense and gains support.” That was before McConnell’s message that he was going to refuse it. The House has officially adjourned until next Tuesday pending an agreement for coronavirus relief and the spending bill. Speaking with reporters Thursday, Pelosi pointed out that the key deadline is Dec. 26 when extended unemployment benefits under the CARES Act expire. She also reminded reporters that lawmakers have worked up to and immediately after Christmas before. She called McConnell’s insistence on liability protections for businesses “such an assault on American workers and I hope the group goes nowhere near what he is presenting.”

On the Senate floor Thursday morning, Schumer reiterated his support for the negotiations. “Everyone knows that this bipartisan proposal is the only real game in town at the moment, the only proposal with enough bipartisan support to hopefully pass both Houses of Congress before the end of the year.” That is, he continued, “Everyone knows that, it seems, except Leader McConnell—who continues to stand in the way of bipartisan progress, and who seems to wake up each morning with a new list of outlandish reasons why Democrats are somehow to blame for all the world’s ills.”

People have resorted to shoplifting to feed their families. Meat, rice, diapers, baby formula, bread. People are stealing to survive. McConnell made this happen. Is making it continue. To sabotage Democrats and Joe Biden’s presidency.

Source: dailykos