- The Washington Times - Monday, August 3, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell charged Democrats on Capitol Hill are insisting publicly they want to reach an outcome for the fifth round of coronavirus relief but are actually working to ensure a bipartisan agreement isn’t reached.

As negotiations for the next COVID-19 aid package enter their second week, Mr. McConnell said Democrats are pushing stimulus checks to illegal immigrants and funds for studies on the pot industry.

He said Democrats keep demanding Republicans consider the House relief bill that was nearly three times the amount Senate Republicans have put forward to boost the economy and help people return to work and children back to school.

“The speaker of the House and the Democratic leader are continuing to say ‘my way or the highway,’” said Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, though, pushed back, saying Mr. McConnell was delivering a “partisan speech” as he, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were negotiating for the past couple of hours.

The New York Democrat described the negotiations as productive, saying the two sides are starting to come together, though they still have some differences to settle.

He noted the money for schools to reopen must be enough to improve ventilation and provide more school buses so students can social distance. He also suggested more teachers may need to be hired.

“These are very important things to do if we want to open our schools safely,” he said.

Money for food assistance and election preparation so localities can provide more polling places and ensure mail-in ballots will arrive on time are also on the Democrats’ list of demands.

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