Senate to Vote on ‘Targeted’ COVID Relief Bill as ‘First Order of Business’ after Recess

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) announced on Tuesday that the Senate will debate a “targeted” economic relief legislation once lawmakers return from recess on October 19.



Mitch McConnell wearing a suit and tie: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to the media on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., September 30, 2020.


© Joshua Roberts/Reuters
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to the media on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., September 30, 2020.

Congress has approved over $4 trillion in economic aid to businesses and individuals since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Attempts to pass another round of aid have stalled, however, with the Democrat-led House and Republican-led Senate unable to agree on a price tag for new legislation. The House passed a $2.2 trillion relief bill earlier this month, but Senate Republicans have attempted to keep the number under $1 trillion.

Senator McConnell indicated that certain relief programs could be supported by Republicans without passing comprehensive legislation.

“There is no excuse for Democrats to keep blocking job-saving funding for the Paycheck Protection Program while other conversations continue,” McConnell said in a statement. “The PPP is a popular program that has saved tens of millions of American jobs. It is so bipartisan that its first round was replenished and extended several times by unanimous consent in both the Senate and the House.”

McConnell continued, “When the full Senate returns on October 19th, our first order of business will be voting again on targeted relief for American workers, including new funding for the PPP.” The majority leader added that if Democrats agree, the Senate could renew the PPP before voting to confirm Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

Republicans also face pressure from President Trump, who has called for the Senate to support a more expensive relief plan.

“Go for the much higher numbers, Republicans, it all comes back to the USA anyway (one way or another!),” the president wrote on Twitter in September.

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