- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday said there will “probably” be another bill to fund state and local governments facing budget woes because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“But we need to make sure that we achieve something that will go beyond simply sending out money,” the Kentucky Republican said on Fox News Radio.

He said his “red line” for negotiations on the next federal rescue package will be developing liability protections for health care workers and businesses starting to reopen.

“Before we start sending additional money down to states and localities, I want to make sure that we protect the people we’ve already sent assistance to, who are going to be set up for an avalanche of lawsuits if we don’t act,” he said.

Mr. McConnell also said he wasn’t necessarily recommending that states declare bankruptcy — an idea that has gotten bipartisan pushback since he mentioned it last week — but that it should be looked at as an option.



“I wasn’t necessarily recommending it, but I was pointing out that they have their own fiscal problems that predate the coronavirus, and I was not interested in borrowing money from future generations to fix age-old problems that states have that they created themselves wholly unrelated to this,” he said.

The U.S. House and Senate had been scheduled to be back in session next week, even as Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia and many states around the country remain under stay-at-home orders.

But House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer announced Tuesday that the House will not be back next week, pointing to rising cases in D.C. and some surrounding areas.

Before Mr. Hoyer’s announcement, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the District was prepared for Congress to come back.

“The work of the Congress is essential, especially now,” she said on CNN. “We know that they will put the appropriate social distancing restrictions in place.”

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