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McConnell slates October revote on GOP COVID relief plan

Election 2020 Senate Kentucky
Posted at 3:34 PM, Oct 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-13 20:24:00-04

WASHINGTON (LEX18/AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says that he's scheduling a procedural vote on a GOP COVID-19 relief bill for next week.

He says aid to hard-hit businesses shouldn't be held up by gridlock involving other aid proposals.

The Kentucky Republican says in a statement Tuesday that the Senate will take a test vote Oct. 19 when the chamber returns on Monday.

"We don’t agree with Speaker Pelosi that “nothing” is better than “something” for workers," McConnell tweeted. "Senators will vote on more relief next week, including more PPP money to stop layoffs. We’ll be able to pass it before we turn to Judge Barrett's nomination unless Democrats block it again."

While in Corbin, McConnell said the targeted relief would provide $500 billion in aid.

"So it has liability protection in it. Help for schools, businesses replenishing the PPP program, and we're gonna put it on the floor next Monday," said McConnell.

Before he made his announcement, his opponent in the Senate race, Democrat Amy McGrath, criticized Congress for not getting a deal done. She puts the blame squarely on McConnell.

"He's sucked into a partisan power game where everything he does is all about his political party and power. And it's really hurting our country right now," said McGrath. "Come on! We're in a national crisis here. We need aid."

Democrats filibustered a GOP-drafted aid bill last month and recent talks on a larger deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., fell apart this past weekend, probably for good.

In a letter, Pelosi described to her colleagues that she turned down Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's offer - roughly $1.8 trillion plan - because they couldn't agree on how to defeat the coronavirus.

"A key concern is the absence of any response on a strategic plan to crush the virus," Pelosi said. "We cannot safely reopen schools, the economy, and our communities until we crush the virus with the science-based, national plan for testing, tracing, treatment and isolation, and for the equitable and ethical distribution of a safe and effective vaccine once developed."

McConnell's announcement came as President Donald Trump continues to agitate for "stimulus," saying that Republicans should "go big" rather than the limited approach they've been advocating.