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Wednesday, July 15, 2020 - 13:07

MNI POLICY: US Senate Aid Bill Ready Next Week, McConnell Says

By Evan Ryser

WASHINGTON (MNI) - The U.S. Senate will begin debate next week on a fifth coronavirus response bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday, as he forecast tough negotiations with Democrats who are seeking a broader aid package.

"I was just talking to the Secretary of the Treasury on the way over here this morning and I expect to begin to lay out to my colleagues in the Senate a proposal," he said, "probably next week and begin discussing with my colleagues and our Senate Democrat opposition."

The legislation will likely be more contentious than the previous four coronavirus aid bills. Those pumped more than USD3 trillion into the economy with a combination of business loans, unemployment benefits for workers and direct payments to families.

"We can look back on the CARES Act and conclude it was a big success, but in every major enterprise you can do better and certainly see some mistakes were made," McConnell said in Kentucky.

The lawmaker also repeated recent public utterances for the need for "liability protection" that would start in December 2019 and last for four years for hospitals, he said. It would include nurses, doctors, colleges, universities, and "everyone affected by the pandemic" to avoid "an epidemic of lawsuits."

McConnell further emphasized a need for all to wear masks, as the prospect for a vaccine remains far off, and the need to include a push for kids to be in school in the fall.

The Republican has talked about a bill costing no more than USD1 trillion, while Democrats in the House of Representatives passed a USD3 trillion measure in mid-May that McConnell has so far ignored.

--MNI Washington Bureau; +1 202 371 2121; email:

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