As House Democrats prepared a bill that would provide relief for Americans affected by the coronavirus, Republicans in the Senate signaled that they planned to block it, according to a report by The Hill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the bill “an ideological wish list” for Democrats.
Donald Trump also attacked the Democratic coronavirus relief bill, as quoted by Bloomberg News, accusing Democrats of attempting to use the crisis to “get some of the goodies that they haven’t been able to get for the last 25 years.”
The bill includes free access for COVID-19 testing as well as economic relief, such as expanded paid sick leave, increased unemployment insurance, and food assistance for families in need, according to a report by USA Today.
“We are addressing the realities of family life in America, putting families first,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a press briefing Thursday, as quoted by USA Today. “We don’t need 48 hours.”
But Republican Senator John Cornyn brushed off Pelosi’s sense of urgency, saying that the GOP senators would refuse to be “stampeded” into passing a bill that they did not believe to be “a good idea.”
In the House, the bill — which is titled the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” — is reportedly slated for a floor vote on Thursday, just 24 hours after Pelosi and other Democratic House leaders announced the legislation, according to the USA Today report.
Trump claimed that the bill included measures “that have nothing to do with what we’re talking about,” as quoted by Bloomberg. But Republicans in either the House or the Senate — where the GOP holds the majority — have not proposed any legislation of their own to address the impacts of the coronavirus.
The Democrats’ bill includes $250 million in food assistance for low-income and disabled seniors, as well as $500 million to provide nutrition for low-income women who are pregnant, according to The Hill report. The legislation would also allocate $5 million to cover additional paid sick days for workers who must quarantine themselves.
The largest spending expenditure in the bill will cover costs of additional unemployment insurance, with potentially large numbers of layoffs anticipated as a result of the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The bill includes $1 billion for expanded unemployment payments.
Republicans’ rejection of the proposed relief legislation comes one day after Tennessee GOP Senator Lamar Alexander, chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, blocked a Democratic proposal requiring employers to provide 14 additional days of paid sick leave for affected workers.