SHELBYVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — "The coronavirus is behind us. We need to get back to work."
Those are the words from US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during his most recent stop in Shelby County on Wednesday morning.
He says he hears two consistent complaints from business owners:
"Raging inflation and the difficulty of getting people back to work," said McConnell. With plenty of businesses hiring, McConnell points to the weekly extra $300 unemployment payments as an incentive for some of Kentucky's workforce to stay home.
He says Governor Beshear's continuation of the payments is leaving Kentucky at a competitive disadvantage as surrounding states who either have or will, end the benefit.
"The coronavirus is behind us. We need to get back to work. We need to do things productively. And I do disagree with the governor's decision," said McConnell. But today, his disagreements have more to do with Democrats in Washington.
Not a single Republican supported the American Rescue Plan, which was passed in March.
Right now, talks on a bipartisan infrastructure agreement remain far apart. But McConnell says his side is proposing using some of the "extraordinary amount of money that's gone to state and local governments" under the Rescue Plan and repurpose it.
"I didn't vote for it, but we've already spent (the money.) Wouldn't that be the best way to plug the gap between what the gas tax produces and what we'd like to do on a bipartisan basis for infrastructure," said McConnell. Another mostly partisan decision was the vote against an independent January 6 commission.
McConnell says those who participated in the insurrection will be punished and that there are two Senate committees already making security plans for the future to prevent a breach of that magnitude from happening again.
In previous remarks on the Senate floor, he called former President Donald Trump "morally responsible" for the Capitol attack, but later voted against impeachment and, last week, the independent commission.
"Another layer of investigation in my view doesn't add anything. We were all witnesses to it. I was there. We all know exactly what happened. I don't think we would learn anything further by having yet another level of investigation and that's why I opposed the January 6 commission," said McConnell.