Senate Republican Leader to Hold Vote on COVID-19 Relief Bill

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday the Republican-led Senate will vote “as soon as this week” on COVID-19 relief legislation after negotiations with Democrats broke off last month.“It does not contain every idea our party likes. I am confident Democrats will feel the same. Yet Republicans believe the many serious differences between our two parties should not stand in the way of agreeing where we can agree and making law that helps our nation,” McConnell said in a statement.Millions of workers remain unemployed in the United States. Some U.S. employers have called back those who were laid off during mandatory business shutdowns earlier this year. Yet hard-hit businesses have been slow to ramp up their operations again or have closed permanently, leaving workers idled or searching for new jobs.Until the end of July, the national government sent an extra $600 a week to unemployed workers on top of less generous state jobless benefits. But Trump administration negotiators and opposition Democratic lawmakers have been unable to reach an agreement on how long to extend the federal benefit and for how much.White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, center, waits in the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Aug. 3, 2020.The Senate returned to Capitol Hill Tuesday for a shortened preelection session, as hopes continue to diminish for passage of another relief bill to cope with the economic decline brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. After bipartisan unity led to the approval of a nearly $3 billion COVID-19 rescue package in the spring, the two sides have not been able to reach another agreement. The House of Representatives does not return to work until Sept. 14.White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said earlier Tuesday he was optimistic another measure would be passed before the Nov. 3 presidential election but gave no indication of progress in talks with congressional Democrats.Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Aug. 27, 2020.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement Tuesday the Senate vote was a political maneuver.“After months of inaction, Republicans are finally realizing the damage their pause has done to the American economy and our nation’s health. As they scramble to make up for this historic mistake, Senate Republicans appear dead set on another bill which doesn’t come close to addressing the problems and is headed nowhere,” Pelosi and Schumer wrote.The U.S. leads the world in confirmed COVID-19 deaths, with nearly 190,000. The U.S. is also home to a world-leading 6.3 million coronavirus infections, nearly one-quarter of the more than 27.3 million worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.  

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