- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell accused Democrats Wednesday of stonewalling on a coronavirus relief bill to get an edge in the November election.

“They don’t want to do a deal before the election because they think somehow that adversely affects their prospects in the election,” he told reporters. “Well, the American people are not interested in those kinds of excuses. They’d like to see us address the problems that exist right now.”

Mr. McConnell said he hopes Congress can pass some kind of relief bill by the time the election comes around but said the only way to do that is if Democrats “come back to the table.”

Republicans are set to vote Thursday on their own scaled-down COVID-19 relief package, estimated to cost around $500 billion — a steep drop from the Democrats’ $3 trillion proposal and even the Republican’s own initial $1 trillion offer.

The bill includes more than $250 billion for another round of small business loans, $105 billion for schools, and $16 billion for testing and contact tracing resources.



It also provides liability protection against COVID-related injuries and converts a $10 billion loan for the Postal Service into a grant.

Mr. McConnell has acknowledged the bill is missing much of what Republicans and Democrats would like to include but insists it’s the compromise lawmakers could all agree on.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, have out-right dismissed the bill as wholly insufficient.

The GOP bill is not expected to get the 60 votes it needs to pass even its first procedural vote on Thursday.

Talks between the White House and Democrats for a more comprehensive bill broke down last month, and negotiators have shifted focus to getting a deal on a clean spending agreement before government funding runs out at the end of the month.

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