- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted Democrats Tuesday for prolonging COVID-19 relief negotiations, saying more businesses are closing, people are anxious about making rent, and more people are filing for unemployment due to their delay.

He said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer keep meeting with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin now for more than a week, but they keep saying the conversations are productive — yet they yield no result.

“It never seems to change,” the Kentucky Republican said, noting it has been more than a week since the GOP introduced their proposal for the fifth round of coronavirus relief.

They want about a trillion dollars to go to reopening schools, businesses, and providing the health care industry the funds needed to combat the pandemic.

“The Democrats are blocking it all,” he said.

Mr. McConnell says they are demanding a trillion-dollar “slush fund” for states but states have not even spent a quarter of the money they received when Congress passed the CARES Act back in March — the first round COVID-19 relief at the beginning of the pandemic.

Democrats also want to fund studies on the pot industry, diversity, and inclusion studies and send stimulus checks to illegals, Mr. McConnell noted.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, New York Democrat, dismissed the allegations of a delay, saying Republicans both in the Senate and the White House do not understand the gravity of the situation Americans are facing.

He said the GOP proposal leaves out food assistance for hungry families, and Democrats are hoping to avoid a recession.

The Democratic leader also said preparing schools to reopen is going to cost money and Republicans need to recognize that. Democrats had proposed more than $300 billion more on reopening schools that the GOP has put forward.

“Democrats are going to keep fighting until we get there,” Mr. Schumer said.

The New York Democrat said more money needs to go to testing and tracing, as well as money to prepare for the November elections. The GOP did include some money for COVID-19 testing in their bill, but they did not include money for election preparations.

The prior coronavirus relief did send localities more than $400 million to use towards election sanitation and planning.

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