13 News Exclusive: Sen. McConnell discusses the gridlocked coronavirus relief package

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 5:36 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - From the gridlocked relief package, to what is inside the bill he has laid out concerns over some of the funding. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s trying to work with Democrats on a new coronavirus relief bill.

“The America people expect us to work together to get an outcome,” said the Senator.

McConnell’s HEALS Act laid out as a starting point has both sides of the aisle struggling to come to agreements.

”I think there’s a mutual desire to get an outcome here. The American people I think expect us to work together to get an outcome. We believe the economy needs another jolt. That’s the view of the chairman of the fed, that’s the view of the Secretary of Treasury, and it’s my view, and so we’ll kinda keep working on this until we can reach an agreement.”

Among the focuses of the $1 trillion bill - schools.

“There are 105 billion dollars,” explained Sen. McConnell.

Meanwhile, President Trump is urging all schools to open back up amid the pandemic, but McConnell says that decision should be up to the schools.

“My view is we ought not to tell local school districts how to conduct school. But we do know no matter what they do - go back to in-person classes, or whether they do some combination of both, it is going to be an additional cost and the bill I laid out is a starting place.”

Other elements in the bill have sparked questions including the nearly $30 billion for defense spending.

“I put a slug in there for the military because the - a lot of their activities are affected by COVID-19. There are other things in the bill that clearly don’t belong in there. I don’t favor funding an FBI bill in there,” said Sen. McConnell.

Among other disputes on the bill - unemployment. Democrats insist the $600 a week benefit should stay, although it’s already expired.

“We’re not having a short-term extension... We have said that we’re going to have the $600,” said Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi Thursday. “So it’s not a question of, uh, we again, want to see a whole package and they know that we want the $600.”

“I don’t favor the democrat’s effort to try to get a tax break for high-income people in blue states. We do need to narrow the bill if we get to a final agreement,” said Sen. McConnell.

As Americans continue to grapple with illness, pay cuts, job losses, and other struggles, the timeline on a bill both parties can agree on is unclear.

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