by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Senate Democrats are demanding that the Republican majority agree to a fourth federal spending bill that would supply $1 trillion to state and local governments suffering from lower revenues due to the coronavirus.
“The state and local governments need huge amounts of money,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters in the Capitol on Tuesday.
Schumer criticized a plan by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to postpone consideration of new federal spending in order to assess the distribution and effectiveness of billions in federal aid already signed into law. A prior spending measure allocated $150 billion to state and local governments, but Democrats say it’s far too little.
“If Leader McConnell thinks they can wait, he should talk to some Republican governors, as well as Democratic ones,” the New York Democrat said.
Schumer said state funds are running dry, threatening the jobs of police, firefighters, bus drivers, and other essential workers.
“What I’d like Leader McConnell to understand is this is not some abstract concept, state and local government,” Schumer said. “These are real people who did nothing wrong. Who are losing their jobs, just like the people who work for small businesses are losing their jobs, just like the people who work in healthcare are losing their jobs. They’re just as important.”
House Democrats are planning a measure that would provide $1 trillion to state, local, and municipal governments, said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat.
Senate Republicans, who control the upper chamber, said Tuesday they won’t rush to take up a new spending bill and are opposed to new, massive spending. Any coronavirus-related measure would also have to include lawsuit liability reform to protect businesses and healthcare workers, said McConnell, a Kentucky Republican.
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