Democrats reject McConnell’s “sad” offer on new coronavirus

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“With the coronavirus, I don’t think there is any point in having less protection with our workers right now,” Pelosi said Tuesday afternoon of McConnell’s argument. “We don’t need any prescription from anyone about mythology or just an apology for not doing the job. It’s really sad – it’s shameful, because there is a huge need.

Majority House Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) Said that there had not been much discussion of the idea, but that the Democrats “did not want to subordinate such action to actions we take on behalf of employees, employers and the public. ”

A Democratic aide went on to say that Pelosi had read McConnell’s quotes on Monday during a management call yesterday, but Hoyer had not yet called. Pelosi and other high-level Democrats agreed that they had no interest in McConnell’s idea.

McConnell also told Senate Republicans on Tuesday that he objected to the inclusion of a major infrastructure component in the upcoming Coronavirus Response Bill, two people familiar with the call.

“Mitch sees him as me to some extent as infrastructure – he loves infrastructure. We all do, “President Donald Trump told reporters on Tuesday. “Many Republicans would like to keep this as a separate bill. We will see how it works. “

Some Republicans in coronavirus-ravaged states like Louisiana and New York want to provide more money to their states, while others even oppose the general idea of ​​sending money to states. After repeatedly suspending state and local government bailouts and suggesting they could file for bankruptcy instead, McConnell said on Monday that he could support the addition of public and local funds “provided that we have the right kind of non-financial assistance. “

“We will probably make another bill. What I am saying is not just about money. These will be other things that we think are important in the aftermath of this pandemic. And at the top of my list is the responsibility for protections for the brave people who occupied the front lines during this time and for the brave people who open their businesses for fear of being sued, “said McConnell on Monday.

Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) Introduced a bill that would protect front-line health care workers from certain lawsuits.

Schumer said he did not understand exactly what McConnell was offering but urged McConnell to “stop putting up barriers” on the way to more money for local governments. McConnell and the Trump administration fought the inclusion of $ 150 billion in state and local aid on last week’s $ 484 billion coronavirus bill, the fourth bill responding to the crisis.

“Does he say if an owner tells a worker that he should work next to someone who might have a coronavirus, without a mask or PPE, that this owner would not be responsible?” It makes no sense, “said Schumer.

Quint Forgey and Caitlin Oprysko contributed to this report.

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