Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday the next coronavirus relief bill will focus on three priorities — kids, jobs and health care.
The Kentucky Republican pointed to surveys that show child care and school are a top priority for Americans, so making sure classrooms can safely reopen will be the primary focus for the GOP proposal.
“Their education depends on it. In some cases, their safety depends on it and so do the livelihoods of working parents,” the leader said on the chamber floor of the nation’s children.
The GOP caucus is meeting with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin Tuesday afternoon to hammer out some details. Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Meadows are also scheduled to meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat.
To get the economy going, though, the GOP plans to do another round of checks to families and more funds for a targeted Paycheck Protection Program for the hardest-hit businesses.
They also plan to ensure there is enough money for businesses to purchase personal protective equipment and keep buildings sanitized. Funds will also aim to help research for vaccines and treatment for COVID-19, focusing on health care advancements.
“The next recovery package will include strong legal protections for the healthcare workers that saves people’s lives and the schools, colleges, and businesses that want to reopen,” Mr. McConnell said.
Gross negligence legal claims will still be permitted, but the bill will include legal safeguards for companies that make a good faith effort to keep workers and customers safe.
There will also be protection for seniors to make sure premiums do not spike.
But Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, blasted Republicans for moving too slowly, saying they are just now working on another COVID-19 relief bill roughly two months after the last legislation was passed.
He also said they are engaging in a partisan process by not working with Democrats to draft the bill, arguing it will cater to special interests instead of helping workers.
Noting that unemployment claims reached 50 million, the number of cases topped 3.8 million, and more than 140,000 Americans have died, Mr. Schumer said the country has been “burning.”
“Senate Republicans led by Leader McConnell said let’s wait a little longer and see how this goes — like President Trump, they were hoping it would go away, ignoring all scientific evidence,” he said.
The Democratic leader also blasted the move to open schools, saying just like states that reopened too quickly, there could be a spike in coronavirus cases.
“We cannot repeat those mistakes when it comes to the schools and the safety of our kids,” he said.