Senators to vote on fourth COVID-19 relief package, Democrats likely to block

Senate Majority Leader McConnell: "Are Democrats really going to refuse to fund K-12 schools and childcare in a pandemic because they're afraid Republicans might get some credit?"

Updated: September 10, 2020 - 1:18pm

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that he plans to proceed with a procedural vote on a $500 billion coronavirus stimulus package despite Democratic leader Chuck Schumer's effort to block the measure.

"Senators who share the Democratic leader's toxic attitude, who think the real enemy are their political opponents, I assume will follow his lead and vote no. They can tell American families they care more about politics than helping them, but senators who want to move forward will vote yes," McConnell said on the Senate floor. 

"They'll vote to advance this process so we can shape it into a bipartisan product and make a law for the American people," he said. "That ... is what working families need. They need us to act. They need us to legislate. Today, they'll see exactly who has their backs."

The Delivering Immediate Relief to America's Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act includes a $300 weekly federal unemployment benefit, more Paycheck Protection Program funding for businesses, about $100 billion for public schools, $15 billion for childcare, $10 billion for the U.S. Postal Service and more funding for coronavirus testing. The legislation does not include another round of direct payments or additional federal funding for state and local governments.

Schumer has said Senate Democrats won't support the GOP's smaller-scale bill. The House-passed HEROES Act is estimated to cost $3.4-$3.7 trillion.

"There's a good chance they feel the pressure once they see the Democrats are not going to fold to this emaciated bill, which leaves so much out," the New York lawmaker said Wednesday on CNN. "The pressure will mount on them."

McConnell questioned why the Democrats would vote against advancing the legislation when it provides more federal funding for public schools than the HEROES Act.

"We'll be voting on $105 billion for education, more than House Democrats put in their bill, billions for testing and tracing, and even more support for vaccines. And thanks to a number of our colleagues including Senators Ernst and Loeffler, there is new support for childcare, plus other arrangements like homeschooling, thanks to Senator Cruz," the Kentucky lawmaker said on the Senate floor. 

"Are Democrats really going to refuse to fund K-12 schools and childcare in a pandemic because they’re afraid Republicans might get some credit? Really? They're going to vote against finding and distributing vaccines because they are afraid the breakthrough that our nation has prayed for might possibly help President Trump?" he also said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized McConnell's attempt to pass the $500 billion stimulus package on Thursday.

“I think that McConnell is being his cynical self by saying I’ll just put something on there to make it look like we’re trying to do something while we ignore the needs of the American people; where we shy away from defeating and crushing the virus,” she said at a press conference. 

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