search
Sections List
American Journal News

McConnell says his refusal to act on virus relief for months was a good thing

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed a coronavirus relief bill on May 15.

By Josh Israel - August 06, 2020
Share
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that his decision to block disaster relief for months for Americans suffering due to the impacts of the coronavirus was a good thing. His reasoning: It gave the country time to see whether the COVID-19 pandemic would somehow just go away on its own.

“It allowed us to learn the coronavirus didn’t mysteriously disappear,” McConnell told the New York Times. “It is still here.”

He argued that his inaction since May has been “the reasonable thing to do” because “pushing the pause button meant seeing how what we have already done is working.”

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed a coronavirus relief bill on May 15. If enacted, it would provide trillions of dollars in response to the economic and public health challenges of the pandemic.

McConnell vowed to block the legislation in the Republican-controlled Senate, mocking it as “not serious” and “dead on arrival.” He instead promised to consider taking action on a different response plan.

“We’re taking a careful look at a fourth and final bill,” McConnell said on May 29. “You could anticipate the decision being made on whether to go forward in about a month. And it will be narrowly crafted, designed to help us where we are a month from now, not where we were three months ago.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized McConnell’s obstruct-and-see approach at the time, saying, “We need a pause? Tell that to the virus. Is the virus taking a pause? Is hunger in America taking a pause?”

In the months that have followed, the coronavirus has continued to spread across the nation, and millions more Americans have lost their jobs. A temporary federal program to provide an extra $600 in weekly unemployment insurance benefits for those millions expired last week.

Had the Senate passed the House bill in May, things might have been very different.

It contained $75 billion to enhance coronavirus tracing, testing, and treatment. It would have expanded hazard pay and child care for essential workers and created an emergency exposure control plan to protect them in the workplace. It would have extended the unemployment benefit until January.

Instead, McConnell focused on confirming Donald Trump’s nominees to judgeships and executive branch positions and sent senators home for recesses.

When he finally announced a Republican bill on July 27, it quickly became apparent that the bill was going nowhere. GOP senators panned provisions allocating billions of dollars to unrelated pet projects, and Trump dismissed it as “semi-irrelevant.”

Congressional Democrats and the Trump administration are now attempting to negotiate a relief deal, but have struggled to find common ground. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows warned Wednesday that if an agreement isn’t reached by Friday, it was unlikely to be done at all. “We’ve been spending so much time together that if you’re not making progress, there’s no sense to continue.”

McConnell has not been involved in the talks, but he says he is unconcerned.

“Every decision I make about this sort of thing is entirely calculated,” he told the Times on Wednesday. “It eliminates sitting there and having to listen to Pelosi and [Senate Minority Leader Chuck] Schumer’s talking points, which gets in the way of serious discussion.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


AJ News
Get the latest news here first.

Tai News

Newsletter
Read More
AJ News
Latest
Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

By Jesse Valentine - February 26, 2024
Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

By Jesse Valentine - February 09, 2024
Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

By Annmarie Timmins, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 31, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

By Jesse Valentine - January 17, 2024
A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

By Bonnie Fuller - January 10, 2024
Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - January 08, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

By Ethan DeWitt, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 04, 2024
Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

By Jesse Valentine - December 22, 2023
Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

By - December 15, 2023
Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

By Jesse Valentine - December 08, 2023
Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

By Jesse Valentine - December 07, 2023
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

By Jesse Valentine - December 05, 2023
For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - November 30, 2023
Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

By Jesse Valentine - November 06, 2023
Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

By Jesse Valentine - November 03, 2023
Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today - October 24, 2023
Utah lawmakers want to repeal abortion clinic ban hoping it will speed up trigger law case

Utah lawmakers want to repeal abortion clinic ban hoping it will speed up trigger law case

By Katie McKellar, Utah News Dispatch - February 27, 2024
Republican Bernie Moreno opposes existence of minimum wage

Republican Bernie Moreno opposes existence of minimum wage

By Jesse Valentine - February 23, 2024
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott floats building a wall on the Oklahoma border

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott floats building a wall on the Oklahoma border

By Jesse Valentine - February 22, 2024
More than 48,600 18-year-olds are registered to vote in Ohio, a 35% increase from late August

More than 48,600 18-year-olds are registered to vote in Ohio, a 35% increase from late August

By Megan Henry, Ohio Capital Journal - February 22, 2024
Not if, but when: Parents of slain Parkland students urge Utah lawmakers to pass school safety bill

Not if, but when: Parents of slain Parkland students urge Utah lawmakers to pass school safety bill

By Kyle Dunphey, Utah News Dispatch - February 21, 2024