Kentuckians react as lawmakers negotiate on further coronavirus relief

Posted at 12:20 AM, Dec 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-09 00:29:25-05

(LEX 18) — Many Kentuckians are hoping for some form of help before the end of the year as lawmakers in Washington D.C. continue discussions on another pandemic relief bill.

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested Republicans and Democrats drop the two issues that have been hardest to agree upon: liability protections for businesses and assistance for state and local governments with the intention of picking up negotiations on those issues after the new year.

"Leaving here without a COVID relief package cannot happen," McConnell said. "We have to get that done. I think both sides fully understand that."

In response, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said jobs would be at risk if state and local governments don't receive more funding.

"Leader McConnell has refused to be part of the bipartisan negotiations and now he's sabotaging good faith bipartisan negotiations because his partisan ideological effort is not getting a good reception," Schumer said.

An initial $908 billion proposal from a bi-partisan group of lawmakers included expanded unemployment benefits and relief for businesses.

As of Tuesday night, democratic leaders called a new proposal from the White House "unacceptable" because it made cuts to proposed unemployment benefits.

But this late in the year, many Kentuckians will take assistance in any form.

Devan Jones, a Lexington server and mother of three, has seen her income take a hit because of the latest restrictions on indoor dining in Kentucky.

"It's very frustrating. Very very frustrating to say the least," said Jones.

She's hoped for additional stimulus money, like the $1,200 checks many received in April.

"It would be a Godsend right now especially with Christmas right around the corner," she said.

But if that's not possible, she said she'd be glad to see assistance for businesses, especially restaurants.

"That might not go directly to me but that does help my employer," she said.

The $908 billion bill would be a good stop-gap measure, according to experts, but more funding would be needed later on.