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A new economic relief proposal by the Senate Republican leader falls short of addressing the needs of people and businesses affected by the pandemic, the top Democrat on the funding panel said recently.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) raised the possibility of kicking off the chamber’s consideration of the latest COVID-19 relief aid measure by Sept. 10. The package is likely to provide considerably less than the $1 trillion from a relief measure McConnell’s caucus unveiled this summer.

“Our economy will only make a comeback when the American people are confident that the virus is no longer a threat. Sen. McConnell’s ‘skinny’ bill will not provide that confidence,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Appropriations Committee ranking member. “There is no real plan for action. No real plan to pass a bill for the American people. This is unacceptable.”

Patrick Leahy

Leahy

Other top Democrats echoed Leahy’s sentiment. In a joint statement, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), emphasized, “Democrats want to work on bipartisan legislation that will meet the urgent needs of the American people but Republicans continue to move in the wrong direction.”

McConnell, meanwhile, argued Democrats have pushed back on the GOP’s economic rescue strategy. In May, the House passed a $3 trillion economic package backed by Pelosi that includes $15 billion for highway programs.

“Everything Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer have done suggests one simple motivation: They do not want American families to see any more bipartisan aid before the polls close on President [Donald] Trump’s re-election. They have taken Americans’ health, jobs, and schools hostage for perceived partisan gain,” McConnell said this week.

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